Corporate Planning Software Vs Excel: How Account-Ability Can Improve Your Forecasts
Spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel have been used by businesses to generate business forecasts for decades. However, spreadsheets demand a high level of technical skill, and forecasts generated through Excel often fall short of the mark. Today’s purpose-designed corporate planning software provides a range of benefits over depending on spreadsheets – improving accuracy and saving you time and money. Read on to find out more.
Reduce Human Error
Human error is rife in the world of spreadsheets, and it can take many forms. The process of exporting data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and creating manual Excel sheets is one of the main reasons 98% of spreadsheets have been found to have errors. Then there is just ‘wrong formula’ incorrect or broken link buried deep within a large an impenetrable spreadsheet that is very hard to spot. The result is a plethora of inaccuracies, impacting everything from corporate planning to sales forecasting.
The latest generation of corporate planning software, such as the Corporate Planner we supply through Account-Ability, overcomes all of these problems. Firstly, data import is more straightforward and auditable, and can even include direct integration with with your Finance, ERP or other source systems. Secondly, as a ‘true business application’ it comes with an array of business focused formulae, budgeting tools and easily configurable relationships (eg between P&L, B/S and C/F). This means that errors are far less likely to occur, and far far easier to spot and rectify. The result is much greater assurance on the integrity of the model.
Simplify The Process
The complexity of Excel has long been an industry headache – largely because most Excel users do not have sufficient training to use the program’s advanced features. This complexity vs competence disconnect contributes to the staggering error margin, ultimately leading to increased costs due to the burden of time needed to use the spreadsheets effectively. Using multiple Excel sheets compounds the problem and the need to shift back and forth between different sheets over-complicates the process, introducing the risk of errors in the data, and wasted time and resource
With the right corporate planning software in place, keeping control of data is effortless. Simple interfaces, clear graphology, and neat summaries can help to stop financial planners drowning in numbers.
Reduce Workload Intensity
Time is money. Activities that are resource-intensive should always be examined with a critical eye, and spreadsheets are one of the biggest culprits. Even though Excel can perform some extremely complex calculations, managing them, and their inherent ‘single user’ nature making it difficult to share a ‘single version of the truth’, is inevitably time-consuming. Additionally, disseminating information from Excel data into alternative reporting formats and analyses is wasteful of scarce resource
Planning software automates both the data entry and the data analysis functions of forecasting, rapidly presenting the figures, patterns, and projections in an intuitive format.
Security has always been an Achilles Heel for Excel. Planning software provides much higher levels of security both to login and also by the system of user roles and rights that it offers. This enables ‘version control’, locking down for example ‘actuals’, ‘budgets’; and ‘key forecasts’ so that they can be changes by only a very small group of individuals.
Excel continues to be an industry staple, but in the complex world of business planning and forecasting it is a hindrance rather than a help. Modern, high performing organzations recognise this and invest in leading commercially available dedicated business planning and forecasting solutions such as Corporate Planner. By tackling the major pitfalls of manual data entry, Corporate Planner promises safer, more accurate, and more meaningful control over your forecasting data. For more information, please call 01242578966 or get in touch today!
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