5 Signs You’ve Outgrown Excel for Budgeting and Planning

How do you know it’s time to start looking for a new budgeting and planning tool? If your small business struggles to make Excel work for budgeting and planning, you’re not alone. The good news is there are better solutions available. Modern budgeting software can offer functionality to integrate and automate your processes while still remaining fairly affordable for smaller businesses.

Is it time to consider a new solution? These 5 common problems are all signs that you may have outgrown Excel for your organization’s budgeting and planning.

  1. The Process is Excessively Time-Consuming

Taking care of the budget shouldn’t mean missing dinner with your family or working over the weekend, but for businesses without the right accounting tools, this is often the case.

Your steps for budgeting in Excel probably include:

  1. Downloading CSVs
  2. Cutting and Pasting into Excel
  3. Rolling Data Up
  4. Updating Formulas and Links
  5. Building and Updating Forecasts and Models
  6. Emailing Files

This might not be so bad for relatively simple budgets, but at a certain point, it’s too time-consuming. A dedicated budgeting and planning solution can integrate with your financial solution and automate these steps, allowing you to focus on more valuable work such as analysis and forecasting.

  1. Users Sometimes Update the Wrong Spreadsheets

Working in Excel typically means sending out multiple versions of a spreadsheet over time. If there are several versions of each spreadsheet floating around, it’s too easy for users to update the wrong one. At the very least, this results in wasted time. At worst, you’ve missed some key metrics and your organization’s financial health will suffer as a result.  Mistakes like this also discourage other users from inputting their own data, opting to have you do it instead. If you switch to a dedicated budgeting and planning solution, everybody can input data directly without worrying about versions of spreadsheets.

  1. You Worry About Security Problems

Budgets contain sensitive information such as spending for different departments and salaries. When you’re using multiple Excel spreadsheets, it can be way too easy to accidentally send the wrong one to the wrong people – especially if you’re exhausted from spending all night working on the budget! With a separate budgeting and planning tool, you can easily control who sees which information.

  1. Formula Errors Are Too Common

Maybe you double-checked everything and still missed a small formula problem, or maybe a last-minute addition threw off a series of data. You might notice the mistake during the middle of your budgeting meeting or – even worse – you might not notice the error at all. A budgeting and planning solution removes this potential for human error by automatically calculating everything.

  1. Reporting Delays

By the time you’ve downloaded each month’s actuals to a CSV file, cut and pasted the data into Excel, rolled up the data, and then sent out each spreadsheet to the appropriate group, there’s been a long delay. That makes it difficult for decision-makers to analyze spending, plan ahead, and make proactive decisions for the financial health of the business. By contrast, if you have a budgeting and planning solution that integrates with your financial software, the actuals can be automatically updated in just a few minutes, providing reports and metrics to stakeholders as soon as they want.

What can you do?

If you’re experiencing these symptoms of outgrowing Excel, there’s good news for your budgeting process! Recent advances in technology mean that budgeting and planning solutions have become both affordable and effective for small businesses.

If you’d like to learn more, you can download this eBook from Sage Intacct or contact us with questions.

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