Craig Anderson 6 min read

Has your business outgrown budgeting in excel?

You’re not alone if you’re still creating and managing budgets in Excel.

You’re also not alone if you’re struggling to make Excel an efficient tool for doing so.

Using spreadsheets for budgeting is usually less efficient, hinders collaboration and it’s also extremely error-prone. Excel is a powerful personal productivity tool, but it lacks the capabilities necessary to develop the accurate, comprehensive budgets required by businesses today.

Here are six signs that your organisation might be outgrowing Excel for budgeting.

Too much time is spent on the budgeting process

Budgeting in Excel usually requires a number of manual steps. Typically, it begins with downloading financial results from the accounting system, then cutting and pasting the data into the desired format across multiple Excel files, rolling up that data, updating formulas and links, building revenue and expense projections, updating forecasts, creating actual vs. budget reports—which always need to be checked for errors—and, finally, emailing files.

Clearly, the budgeting process in Excel is both manual and time-consuming. Last-minute changes to Excel files are difficult to manage, and it’s easy to forget to update links or formulas. Boards and CFOs depend on getting the right numbers, and errors reduce their confidence and could lead to misguided decisions.

Consolidating data is a nightmare

Budgeting often requires consolidating data from across the organisation. The ability to access your data sources and pull up-to-the-minute data is essential and this effort is compounded when pulling together data from disparate sources to create a more comprehensive picture. If your spreadsheets exist in isolation from your data sources, the time necessary for consolidation is significantly higher.

File version number what?

Budget templates in Excel are manually prepared, shared, and collected, which leads to version control issues. It is challenging to pinpoint the latest changes to a document and this puts additional strain on the team responsible for budgeting. 

Collaboration is hard

When the budget process isn’t clearly defined, finance teams often struggle to get the right level of participation and buy-in from department managers. Passing spreadsheets back and forth makes it all too easy for people to delete rows and cells and break formulas and links. Finance ends up spending the bulk of its time just verifying numbers are up to date and accurate.

Information is accidentally shared with others

Did you just send the Excel file with the salary info? Budgets contain sensitive information such as detailed spending for different departments as well as salaries. When you are using multiple Excel spreadsheets, it can be too easy to accidentally email the wrong file to the wrong people – especially if you’re exhausted from spending all night working on the latest and greatest budget.

Reporting is always delayed

By the time you have downloaded the unformatted financial results from the accounting system each month, cut and pasted the data into Excel, rolled up the data, and then sent out each spreadsheet to the appropriate group, a deadline has most likely been missed. That makes it difficult for decision-makers to analyse spending, plan ahead, and make proactive decisions for the financial health of the business.

We can help
Even one of these signs might be enough reason to move away from Excel for your budgeting process and start considering a budgeting solution. But the first question that might come to mind is whether planning and budgeting solutions are difficult to configure and expensive.

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting provides a powerful, yet easy-to-use-and-deploy budgeting solution. With pre-configured data synchronization with NetSuite General Ledger, your financial data is automatically pulled from NetSuite into the budgeting tool, manual data entry is eliminated, you always have the latest data at your fingertips and there is no need to worry about who got what data. Plus, you’re able to easily include everyone in the organization that needs to be involved in the budgeting process. This solution delivers the collaboration, control, and visibility needed to better manage the complete budgeting process using one end-to-end solution.

Join the webinar Moving Away from Spreadsheets for Budgeting to see a live demo of how NetSuite Planning and Budgeting can help your business.

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Craig Anderson

Craig has a wealth of experience in delivering business solutions across several industries. Prior to joining Verde over 10 years ago, Craig worked as a Business Analyst for several large law firms. He is passionate about improving efficiency and making life easy for the customer. Craig enjoys sailing and cars... in that order.