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Introduction

Planning, budgeting, and forecasting (PBF) are key components of managing and driving organizational financial performance. Our conversations with enterprises and finance decision-makers reveal that they are also among the most difficult processes to execute in any company. PBF is often disjointed, rife with delays, inaccuracies, and remains an extremely elongated exercise.

Highlights

  • Technology choices make a significant impact on the planning process. We found that products/solutions that allow a high degree of integration and interoperability, both among native financial modules as well as with line-of-business data, tend to be better placed to extract process efficiencies.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses best practices to shorten planning windows.
  • Details technology choices to help organizations plan in an agile fashion.

Key questions answered

  • What are the technology imperatives to help shorten planning windows?
  • How can organizations change process and technology to be more agile in planning?

Table of contents

Summary

  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages

Recommendations

  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors

Background

  • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are core EPM processes
  • Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are interrelated

Leaner PBF cycles continue to prove elusive

  • Key issues with PBF

Technology imperatives

  • Technology selection is critical
  • Keep planning iterative, but prioritize automation
  • Tie financial planning metadata to operational and strategic planning metadata without increasing complexity
  • Work continuously on building a single source of truth and master data
  • Look for vendors that provide integration ease, flexibility, and breadth
  • Don't forget data security
  • Don't rely on spreadsheets, but avoid a complete rip-and-replace
  • Use external indicators and benchmarks to boost forecast accuracy
  • Find a level of forecast granularity that you are comfortable with
  • Eliminate fixed forecast intervals and methods
  • Focus on collaboration

Business imperatives

  • Do not forget business process change
  • Assign ownership
  • Compare and contrast data before setting rules
  • Formulate a deployment, training, and adoption timeline
  • Ensure a single point of contact for accountability
  • Train, train, train

Appendix

  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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