Budgeting: life after Excel

Every company needs a budget, at least those who want to operate in a stable and long-term way. To ensure that budgets are realistic and financial planning is accurate, it makes a difference which tool you use. Most people still opt for Excel because it is the tried and tested solution. But, there are much better programs on the market that can make budgeting accurate and fast.

When it comes to budgeting, companies use a variety of programs to make the process more efficient and the results more accurate. Fortunately, the paper-and-pencil method has been replaced by some software solutions for most companies. Here we present the extremes, the two points on the scale, and what can be considered the golden mean.

Excel as a budgeting tool

Excel is the tool most often used by companies when it comes to budgeting. The software, which is part of the Microsoft Office toolbox, is a spreadsheet program that helps users organise, calculate and create statements.

The first version was released for Macintosh in 1985, followed by a Windows version in 1987. In the following decades, it has become an integral part of corporate life, and most people still use it today. Some people are not convinced to switch to a more modern solution, but most people are more comfortable with it because "it was good before and everyone is used to it anyway".

The benefits of the programme are undeniable, but unfortunately, it has outlived its usefulness and is therefore limited in certain situations. It is now essential that several people have access to the same interface, for example, to edit at the same time. Unfortunately, offline Excel spreadsheets cannot do this. Nor can they automatically gather information from the various systems where the data is collected. 

The level of interconnectivity is low and automation is not feasible. This means that manual intervention and data entry is required, which in turn leaves room for error and inaccuracy.

A common problem is that a staff member who is an expert in the field builds the spreadsheet system, and then when they leave, the background knowledge disappears from the company, resulting in chaos. The peculiarity of Excel is that it looks very simple, but it is very easy to create very complex and untraceable systems. Because it can quickly become opaque, it will ultimately fail to fulfill the very purpose for which it was introduced, namely to bring transparency and efficiency to operations.

The big players' turf: managing finances for the big players

The other extreme is when someone wants to implement an unduly complex and robust system when they don't need one. While these offer solutions to the problems with Excel, they are too big and expensive for most companies. This advanced budgeting software is designed to serve megaprojects where huge sums of money are involved. The implementation of such systems typically requires developing the environment and training the staff to be able to use the software solution.

The optimal solution instead of Giants and Excel

Efficient cloud-based software can be the optimal solution for most companies. These programmes are typically customisable, can be integrated in a short time, are intuitive to use, and may only require a short training and familiarisation. In most cases, they are based on modern technology such as machine learning, and artificial intelligence, and can therefore provide reliable predictions through data analysis.

Jedox is one such software solution that takes budgeting to a higher level. It builds on what you need to know to use Excel, so no in-depth training is required and the transition is a breeze. However, it is beyond the ‘green giant’ in terms of knowledge and capability. 

It allows databases and data sources to be linked, intelligent business solutions to be implemented, data to be managed, workflow to be tracked and approvals to be done efficiently. This is supported by features such as self-service planning, analysis, and reporting.

Jedox is available across multiple platforms, including web and mobile, so everyone can find a practical, easy-to-use solution that works for them. This is also helped by a choice of templates within the system, which makes tasks much faster. The so-called Marketplace interface allows you to choose from ready-made templates, which can be used to create the desired analysis, document, or statement with a single click.

Bixpert's business intelligence solutions include Jedox. Find out more and contact our colleagues who will help you find the best solution for your unique tasks!


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