Performance Improvement

May 27, 2021

How Marketplace Changes are Affecting Budgeting and Planning

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Budgeting and planning used to be a once-a-year task seen as a necessary evil, something that no one looked forward to. It’s quite possible that many of us still see it that way — but increasingly, companies understand that budgeting and planning are vital and strategic tasks, essential to every fiscally healthy organization. There are some powerful stand-alone adaptive planning solutions, on the market, but many turn out to be expensive and time-consuming to implement, and difficult and overly-complex to use.

Many companies are looking for something easier and more adaptable, partly due to the pandemic as more companies prioritize scenario planning. With so many “what ifs” to juggle, the marketplace has shifted and is now prioritizing the insight provided by budgeting and planning solutions (instead of spreadsheets), specifically ones that are part of a platform offering.

What problems do Budgeting and Planning Solutions solve?

Approximately 90% of businesses with 50-200 employees use spreadsheets for planning purposes, propagating what we refer to as “spreadware”. This is where formula errors, hard-to-use templates, inaccurate or delayed analysis, and endless versions of massive spreadsheets complicate and delay budgeting and planning.

A Budgeting and Planning Solution makes it easy to build, collaborate, and share accurate budgets that are as easy to interpret as they are to create and maintain. The solutions bring together data and insights that provide a complete financial trajectory for businesses. Gone are the dozens of spreadsheets emailed around the office, replaced by collaborative, shareable, and easily maintainable forecasts and budgets.

For example, with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning, our clients find the application’s forecasting capabilities extremely valuable as year-round planning tools. Of particular use are the what-if scenarios. As you perform your budgeting and planning, you can look at different scenarios and consider, “what if?” This type of analysis helps an organization be ready when things don’t go precisely as planned, or can even help you decide to take a different, more strategic path than originally planned.

With Budgeting and Planning solutions, everyone has access to timely, reliable data – making it easier to drill deeper, ask questions, and share easily – all without the need for spreadware, IT support, professional services, or hiring additional dedicated analysts.

Who needs it?

Every company can benefit from strategic budgeting and planning. Still, small and medium-sized companies have traditionally struggled to find budgeting and planning software that fits their budget, leaving them using spreadsheets and email – both of which are manual and error-prone.

Solutions like Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning are simple and affordable enough for even smaller companies to embrace while still powerful enough for large, multi-entity enterprises to gain value from.

It’s Part of Sage Intacct

One of the key changes we’ve seen in the marketplace is businesses wanting their budgeting and planning solution fully integrated and part of their platform solution. This allows for more accurate data insight and much better scenario planning since you’re working with real-time from all across the company.

One of the things we like best about Sage’s approach to the Sage Intacct accounting application is how the company works to incorporate the functionality that matters most into the core solution. This is exactly the case with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning. The powerful module was once a third-party application available on the Sage Intacct Marketplace but is now an integral member of the Sage Intacct product family.

Since it’s only been a part of Sage Intacct for a couple of years, it’s understandable that you might not be aware of it. In fact, some Sage Intacct competitors like to claim the lack of a budgeting and planning option as a black mark. The reality is that Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning is a robust, integrated solution that addresses the needs of a wide variety of companies. The year it debuted, the product was a winner in the 2019 SaaS Awards in the Best SaaS Product for Management Accounting and Budgeting category.

How does it work with Sage Intacct?

Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning features bidirectional data synchronization with Sage Intacct and uses the same structures, including the chart of accounts and all dimensions, to seamlessly manage actuals, budgets, and plans. It’s a single, integrated solution that increases the quality of budget reporting and analysis available with Sage Intacct.

For any company, speed, ease of use, accuracy, alignment, and collaboration during financial planning and forecasting are critical to continued growth. The latest Budgeting and planning solutions are making this much more accessible and affordable for small to medium sized business, and the quick market changes we’ve all experienced recently have made the solutions that much more important. Of course, they’re all a little different and we clearly have our favorite (perhaps we’ve mentioned Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning), but as always, we recommend working with a business partner to find the solution that’s best for you.

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