John O’Rourke, VP of Product Marketing at Host Analytics, Inc. presented “Your Budget is Broken . . . Now What?” to our Raritan Valley (NJ) Chapter October meeting. John covered operational aspects companies must improve as well as technology, especially Cloud technology, currently available to bring Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) (aka budgeting and forecasting) to the next level.
John highlighted Five Best Practices for EPM:
“1. Standardizing tools and automating processes speed up planning and increase data accuracy.
With more free time due to standardization and automation, Finance can go beyond standard planning and forecasting to advance to rolling forecasts.
2. Collect financial data in one place to improve data accuracy.
With financial data in once central location, everyone uses the same current information. Planning discussions revolve around the business and not data integrity issues.
3. Unify financial and operational data for advanced planning, forecasting, and what-if analysis.
Finance can improve the plans and forecasts by providing more insightful what-if analyses when financial and operational data are combined in one system.
4. Use flexible processes and tools to accommodate changing business conditions.
Standard forms helps streamline regular processes. Systems that allow modification of those templates and processes provide the flexibility to deal with new organizational and economic challenges. Rolling forecasts help organizations adapt quickly to changing business conditions.
5. Ensure data security, availability, and access controls for improved data integrity.
Unlike emailed spreadsheets, data from authorized sources that’s stored in a secure environment is trustworthy. When it is part of a cloud EPM suite, it is always available when business decisions need to be made.”
One of my key takeaways from our CPE session with John O'Rourke is to use technology to create intuitive forms for non-financial users to capture critical data and to provide these users with information. Designing forms and reports that users directly associate with their responsibilities supports wide-spread acceptance of the technology as a key contributor to managing and improving the process. Essentially, a well-planned technology implementation of EPM creates a user community of operational, financial, compliance, HR and other personnel that share and update information through the application. John explained that the future of EPM is much more focused on 12 to 24 month rolling forecasts rather than the budget, which remains foundational, however organizations are moving beyond budgets to take a 12 month or longer view of their business to improve outcomes. This forward looking view is more sensible to non-financial leaders who are managing the product season or the coming year rather than managing to a financial close date.
About the Author
Glenn Murphy, the co-founder of BestGRC and founder of GRC Management Consulting, primarily focuses on empowering entities to leverage their compliance activities through the BestGRC “cloud” software, his consulting work, publications and the “Leverage Compliance” blog. Find Glenn’s full profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/glenntmurphy/ , follow him @GlennMurphyGRC and subscribe to the Leverage Compliance blog at http://www.bestgrc.com/blog/#cloud #IMA #EPM #TSPC #budget #Forecast