Almost every department in your company depends on the latest technology to do their job…except finance. You’re still working with the same tools and technology you’ve been using for decades, like email and spreadsheets.
In a rapidly changing environment, with businesses growing at a faster and faster pace, finance teams need the right tools to navigate change. Yet, by depending on email and spreadsheets, most finance teams have long cycle times for building annual budgets and forecasts. As a result, plans and forecasts quickly become out-of-date and the manual effort consumes time you should be spending on valuable analysis and business strategy. This results in a static plan—one that takes too long to create, and doesn't support business growth.
Static planning is siloed planning with no source of truth or singular, trusted view of the business. When you spend weeks to months building a plan that can't keep up with the dynamic changes your organization faces, your time and effort is invested in a model that can't guide your business forward, or help you to course correct. While cheap in terms of direct costs, the costs in time and labor, mistakes, and missed opportunities make static planning something your business can’t afford.
Manual planning processes make it unwieldy to pull together data, with multiple versions being emailed back and forth leading to confusion and errors. Passing around spreadsheets is like a bad game of telephone: it’s difficult to work in a collaborative and meaningful way.
Your forecasts are only as good as the underlying data. But a manual spreadsheet process makes it difficult to know who entered the data, where their numbers came from, and even which version of data is the latest. Sharing duplicate copies of spreadsheets creates a brittle, unreliable process for planning and forecasting.
Spreadsheets were not designed to support a growing business. A small business can rely on spreadsheets for their finance processes, but once your business starts to grow, you need to leverage tools and processes that support dynamic growth. When it comes to scenario planning, rolling forecasts, and visual analytics, spreadsheets won't cut it.
A static, manual process prevents you from easily and quickly visualizing data or automatically creating dashboards for your team. You end up having to manually recreate report elements over and over each time something changes. While finance often prefers to view models through numbers, teams beyond finance usually prefer data visualized in reports and dashboards.
Consolidating information from multiple sources is a painful, time-consuming task. You spend so much time simply gathering data that you don’t have any time to analyze it.
Static planning forces finance teams to spend all of their time wrangling data and ensuring accuracy, leaving little time to deliver the insights needed to make finance a valued partner in the planning process. More time in the weeds of the model means less time seeing the bigger picture and focusing on strategy.
With less time to develop insights, poor collaboration, and a lack of uniform trust in the plan, companies with static planning miss out on important opportunities while making choices based on incomplete information.
All these hidden costs force you to compromise between getting a plan just right and just getting it done. As a result, static processes lead to static plans that act as a mere guidepost instead of a business-driving engine. The plans lack buy-in and quickly fall out of date, leading to finance struggling to be a strategic leader on par with other departments in the company.
To meet the needs of today’s fast-paced, highly-distributed dynamic industries, you need an active planning process that’s collaborative, comprehensive and continuous. Active planning requires a solution that is easy, powerful, and fast.