But it’s not always that simple. The budgeting and planning process can be fraught with internal politics and inter-departmental conflict.

Your team leads may create budgets aimed at maximising their funding — rather than reflecting their actual needs. Others may be reluctant to engage with the budgeting and planning process, avoiding supplying numbers or doing the bare minimum to keep the finance team happy. As a result, your budget may be bloated and inaccurate, without the detailed information you need to plan effectively.

It all comes down to transparency and engagement.

If there’s no overall view of business data and budgeting details, it’s easy for business units to fly under the radar and avoid being held accountable. And if your team leads struggle to understand or engage with their budgeting tools, they’re unlikely to truly engage with the budgeting process and deliver the information you need.

Here’s how to change budgeting for the better:

Focus on UX

We often associate user experience (UX) with consumer-facing websites and apps, but it’s equally applicable to internal business tools.

This is where many budgeting and planning tools on the market fall down — they fail to deliver on UX — offering difficult, clunky interfaces and overly-complicated user journeys.

If you’re trying to engage reluctant teams in the budget process, this type of tool can do more harm than good.

Rather than focusing on the numbers and potential outcomes, your teams get stuck at the first hurdle as they struggle to understand the tools and the process. Stress and fear of getting it wrong can mean team leads disengage and fail to deliver their budgets without prompting.

Workday Adaptive Planning is a well-designed budgeting tool that guides users through the budget and planning process, with step-by-step inputs and intuitive UX.

Instead of struggling to access the data and input the right numbers, your teams can see where they are in the process and make sure that they include all the information needed.

This accessibility and ease of use means teams will be far more likely to engage in the process, rather than checking out because it’s all too complicated.

Visibility matters

A lack of transparency and visibility is a major issue when it comes to budgeting and planning. If your teams don’t have access to accurate, up-to-date business data, and if there’s no company-wide view of ongoing goals or budget outcomes, it’s difficult to hold teams accountable.

Lack of access to business data can be a serious problem at budgeting time.

Team leads may struggle to find last year’s or last month’s numbers, making it difficult to project outcomes for the coming period. If data is available but inaccurate, you might end up with a budget that doesn’t reflect reality.

That’s why transparency is so important.

Not only do your teams need instant access to business data, but the data needs to be accurate and up-to-date. Your finance team and other business units should have open lines of communication around budgets and plans — a fluid approach to sharing and planning, rather than a negative, one-way flow of information. The more open and accessible your budgeting process, the more engaged and accountable your team leads are.

Deeper insights, better outcomes

Budgets are worthless if they’re based on flawed assumptions. That’s why analytics and forecasting are essential aspects of budgeting and planning.

In the past, the finance team would have handled this part of the process, turning non-financial measures into budget items and forecasting potential outcomes. With newer budgeting tools, non-financial metrics can be converted into financial outcomes while a team budget is being developed. Your team leads can input various scenarios and see the potential financial impact, compare month-on-month or year-on-year outcomes and gain a deeper perspective. Rather than taking a wild guess at the numbers, they can test and retest the details and have confidence in the budget they ultimately deliver.

For your finance team, these tools mean they receive curated, accurate budgets from each business unit.

This makes for smoother, faster business-wide budgeting — and less risk of basing business decisions on inaccurate information.

Curious how you can get stakeholders excited about budgets? Watch our OnDemand recording here

Workday User Experience webinar
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