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February 2017

TOP 10 Most Important features of budgeting, forecasting, and Business Intelligence Solution

Automation is probably one of the main reasons why several industries thrive, since it allows several companies to minimize costs and maximize profit. However, across several industries financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting and analysis, or even consolidation of figures remain to be a huge struggle.

Yet, this remains strange, considering the variety of budgeting and forecasting tools or any other business intelligence tools available for that matter.

To be truly successful in this area regardless of the brand of the solution a company chooses, the solution must be easy to implement and wholeheartedly accepted by the finance users. The buy-in of the users is very important as they need to feel that the tool will genuinely help them which is why “they want to accept it” more than just having a feeling of “they need to accept it.”

This buy in spells the difference between the success or failure of the tool implementation and use in the long run.
Hence, in case you are looking for a reporting, budgeting, forecasting, and consolidation solution today, here are the top 10 most important features you need to look for:
  1. Reports - The tool should accommodate both visual and numeric data that is readily accessible as the need arises. Users must be able to create a report from scratch with the information they need in just a matter minutes instead of hours.
  2. Driver-based Forecasts - The solution should allow users to work with unlimited and varied type of drivers depending on what works for the organization.
  3. Integration with ERP system - The reporting, budgeting, forecasting, and consolidating tool should serve as an extension of the existing accounting software or ERP system´s actual data.
  4. On-premise or cloud solution – The ideal solution should give you the choice between either an on premise installation or cloud-based solution, based on what works best for your organization.
  5. Built-in Rules - Business rules must be built-in the system and available for users to choose from.
  6. Simple Interface to General Ledger - A direct link or simple interface to the general ledger should be present in the tool for easy population of actual data and immediate use of these data in the analysis especially after a closing period.
  7. Chart of Accounts Set-up - The solution must allow users to set up or mirror chart of accounts that can serve to represent the actual accounting system´s chart of accounts.
  8. Module Add-ons – Endless possibility for system upgrades is mandatory. A modular approach where you can have functions such as revenue forecasting, accounts receivables and accounts payables, profitability analysis, drill page, HR module, sales budget should be available in the solution.
  9. Allocations - The tool should allow you to allocate forecasted amounts to pre-defined accounts.
  10. Native Microsoft Excel Integration - Having a tool that is natively integrated with MS Excel will not only make it easier for finance users to learn the tool, it will also leverage their existing skills. As long as the underlying problems of having huge spreadsheets have been addressed by the solution, MS Excel remains to be the most preferred and optimal tool for finance users.

So, if you are looking for a robust budgeting and planning software, contact us today for your demo on Performance Canvas, the Planning, Budgeting, Reporting and consolidating software every finance team needs!