The dangers of using an old budgeting system
Well, yes. And no.
It's 'no' if you're used to the foibles of your old budgeting software, and don’t mind investing some blood, sweat, tears and time into knocking the numbers into shape. And you don’t need real-time data, and are confident that you will eventually get the accurate results you need for decision-making.
And ‘yes’, because you need to know where all the data you require resides and be able to access it in a timely fashion, be a spreadsheet whiz, and have the patience of a saint to get an accurate picture of your budget. And hope it’s not needed in a hurry. Meanwhile, you certainly can’t afford to have time off or be sick, as no-one else can do what you do.
But if the thought of generating inaccurate data isn’t enough of a worry, there are other risks associated with using outdated budgeting software too. And failing to upgrade or replace your obsolete software is a danger to your business on many levels. Here’s why.
Yes, they are extremely useful, and (way too) many businesses still use Excel for planning and budgeting. The word “spreadsheet’ is also becoming one of the least popular words in the business technology dictionary!
They have their place, but when it comes to relying on them for planning and making strategic commercial decisions, they are notoriously inefficient, subject to corruption, and rarely error-free or real-time. Doing your budgeting on Excel is a complex procedure that requires a huge amount of time to find and input data, massage it into shape, review, check, audit, and correct. And then, heart in mouth, submit.
Good luck with that.
No, not Wall Street, but if you’re up against the wall on a budget deadline, it may as well be. If your software isn’t on the cloud or at least hybrid cloud, then it shouldn’t be anywhere near your business. Unless you are disciplined enough to save your work constantly, or don’t mind losing hours of work?
You deserve to have uninterrupted, anywhere and anytime access to the data you need. And even if the internet goes down, you should be able to rest easy knowing you’ve not lost any of your work. You can go and have a coffee, and by the time you return you’re likely back in action, a little more wired, but still in good shape.
Let’s just say this: It’s a bit ironic that if managing the business’s budget rests on your shoulders, you’re adding more expense trying to maintain old software.
Technology ages, and if there’s no roadmap for upgrades, and a decline in available support options, the cost of ownership escalates.
Don’t forget that your time is valuable too. Old technology not only presents unscheduled downtime issues (usually at critical moments) but makes it harder for you to do your job. The less productive you are, the more frustrating you will find your position.
Old technology runs slower. It takes you more time to execute tasks, and you can be sure it also drives your IT support team up the wall.
And then there is the time you need to gather the data you need. You need up-to-date technology budgeting tools to get the tasks at hand done, impress and inform peers and stakeholders, get IT support off your back, and keep your bottom line in the black. End of discussion.
With cybercrime up 600% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing is safe unless it’s always secured, patched and protected from every possible external and internal threat. Every minute of the day.
When you have outdated software, you aren’t just missing out on a few new features or a faster programme. You’re also exposing your business and its data to vulnerabilities and security risks.
Along with security comes operational compliance; ensuring that only those who should have access to data get access. Old software isn’t as robust at keeping out those who shouldn’t be involved in budgeting as modern technologies.
Check out these business benefits for starters:
1. Speed: Reduce the time it takes to collect and consolidate data, and improve the speed of your budgeting and planning process, and reduce your budgeting and forecasting cycle times.
2. Capability: Analyse information with embedded tools, and gain a greater understanding of your organisation's performance.
3. Decisions: With fully integrated and more precise/detailed planning/budgeting at your fingertips, you’ll make better business decisions, and increase your competitive advantage.
4. Streamline: Reduce headcount (in business and/or IT departments), and make your leaner, meaner team…happier. Because they can do their job more easily and with less stress.
I’m going to (almost) close with this great quote. Jack Welch, the former Chairman at GE once said:
“The budgeting process…sucks the energy, time, fun, and big dreams out of an organisation”.
I’m pretty sure that’s going to resonate with anyone charged with budgeting – especially with old software.
And I’m going conclude with this: Life is hard, why make it harder? Invest in the best budgeting software you can afford; it will pay for itself in no time at all.