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Business, Corporate Planning

Pillars of Planning: Use the Right Tools

Most finance people are really comfortable using Excel. It’s very affordable and available everywhere. It’s a fantastic personal productivity tool. But spreadsheets seldom scale well, making Excel an unsuitable tool for complex corporate planning.

 

A great planning environment needs to be built with tools that can scale well on an enterprise level. There are all sorts of issues using Excel for planning, such as:

 

Inefficiency

Imagine having to manage budget spreadsheets that need to be updated by 50 managers for their departments every week! Version control alone would be an absolute nightmare, let alone the clunkiness of having to use a spreadsheet to manage and work with large volumes of data. Using Excel and email creates far more work for financial planners than needed.

 

Human error

Due to the extensive manual data entry required, an Excel environment would be highly prone to human error. If any part of the data is entered incorrectly, it could throw off an entire corporate plan and in turn have a huge impact on the company.

 

Visibility

Businesses attempting to generate multiple financial models and analyse several scenarios using this data will find the process cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Making changes to variables takes hours of extra work, wasting time and talent. The waste becomes obvious when your CFO asks to know what happens to a forecast if interest rates are increased by 0.25%.

 

Organisations should use tools that give the flexibility and familiarity of Excel, while giving the power the CFOs want. This includes cloud-based corporate planning tools like IBM Planning Analytics, which is easily scalable, centralised in the cloud, and highly secure. Integration of the right tools alongside the other four pillars of planning (planning at the right level, right horizon, right frequency and with the right business drivers) will provide an exceptional planning and forecasting environment, setting an organisation up for long term success.

 

To find out more about how we can help you build a flexible, fast, and powerful corporate planning environment using the right tools including IBM’s Planning Analytics, get in touch!

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