Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Budgeting in Excel

Let's face it - most companies use Microsoft Excel to either fully prepare their budgets and forecasts, or at least to aid in some portion of this process.

There are numerous reasons for this, including the following:
  • Excel is already installed
  • Business users already know how to use Excel
  • Business users like (or should I say love) Excel
  • The organizations' ERP system allows one to import a budget from Excel
But when an organization's level of sophistication grows, using Excel can become an inefficient and complex tool to prepare budgets and forecasts for business users.  But, how can organizations identify this tipping point?  The following questions may assist you:
  • Business users are reluctant to re-forecast due to complexity and amount of effort required
  • Business users are expected to learn and leverage Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Excel to keep up with organizational complexity or business users begin to lose control of their financial and operational models as internal IT or external consultants develop and maintain complex VBA code
  • Business users like (or should I say love) for Excel begins to diminish as they spend more and more time populating data and fixing errors in the spreadsheets
  • Other planning and performance management areas, including financial and operational reporting systems bundled with the organization's ERP system no longer meet the growing complexity of organizational requirements
What are your thoughts on this topic?