When it comes to budgeting and forecasting software, it pays to shop around.
One of the first things to identify is whether the software company can provide a robust and efficient data analytics platform that will enable you to consolidate your financial, sales and operational data. This will provide the gateway to real-time, collaborative budgeting and forecasting.
Cloud-based budgeting and forecasting solutions like Phocas can be integrated with over 200 ERPs, plus multiple other data sources. This enables you to consolidate your data into a single, trusted source of truth. Building the annual budget can then become an automated process, saving the finance team countless hours gathering and consolidating data. Forecasting is also simplified as data automatically feeds into the system, keeping the forecast live. Plus, now that sales, operations and finance are all working on the same file, version control issues and broken formulas will become a thing of the past. The whole process becomes more streamlined and collaborative.
Secondly, the software needs to be easy to use. There’s no point investing in a solution that is not user-friendly to your wider business. If only finance or IT experts know how to navigate and get the most out of the software, other departments will eventually stop using it. The Phocas Budgeting and Forecasting worksheet is designed using a format similar to spreadsheets, so users feel an immediate familiarity with the software. Sales and operations as well as finance can intuitively navigate the system and analyze the budget against actual performance to create better forecasting. This also makes it easy to drill down to transactional-level data, helping you identify potential risks before they become a major issue.
Once you've established these key elements, the best way to get a real feel for the software is to talk with a sales advisor and work through the following:
- Discuss your individual business requirements - including the needs of financial and non-financial users
- Ask for a demo of how the software works
- Establish whether your ERP or other data sources can be integrated with their software
- Ask about their rate of user adoption - this will determine just how easy the software is to use
- Ask about how successfully other companies (in a similar industry to yours) have transitioned into using their software - if possible, arrange to speak to those companies
- Ask about customer support during the initial set up phase as well as ongoing.
If you’d like to learn more about Phocas Budgeting and Forecasting, talk to a sales advisor and book a demo here.