Budgeting and Planning Software Components: Part 5 - Tactical lPlanning Dashboards with Visualizations

Planning dashboards allow planners to see the whole picture at a glance, determine whether their plans are favorable or not, and provide guidance for where to direct their attention. When budgets are out of alignment or plans are going astray as the year progresses, the visualizations on a planning dashboard say, “look exactly here – this is your problem – this is where you can make an adjustment that will have a real impact – the other changes you’re going to make are a waste of time.”

Budgeting and Planning System Components: Part 4 - Supporting Details

The ability for planning users to add commentary is crucial, particularly when that commentary is stored in the database alongside the plan data – not just on the surface level of the planning system. Commentary adds verbose context to plan data and can be used for budget justification, the explanation or description of individual costs. For example, if your budget for in-person training is lower this year because many of the courses can be attended online, that information is considered commentary and should be entered into the planning system.

Essential Budgeting and Planning System Components: Part 3 - Offline Planning

Whether planners are in remote locations or simply travel frequently, there is value in being able to access a planning system offline. One of our non-profit customers has staff responsible for project-based budgeting located in Africa – in areas with limited bandwidth and a sporadic internet connection at best. Spotty internet isn’t an excuse for a late budget. In this situation, it’s easy to see why their arcplan planning system needs to be functional for offline staff.

Hosting All Applications in the Cloud

Many business owners will recall when their first in-house computer networks were installed. When the PCs were networked together in an office, it made file sharing and collaboration among team members easier and more efficient. Installing additional applications on the PC was a relatively simple process, and when the new application came with the ability to integrate with another app already on the PC, it was often a fairly simple process to get the two “talking” together. But installing and integrating applications on your personal computer is a bit different from getting multiple applications installed and integrated with a cloud hosting service provider.

Traction: Launching & Sustaining A Strategic Skills Initiative

“In my life there are not that many questions I can’t properly deal with using my $40 adding machine and dog-eared compound interest table.” Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway

In the last five years there has been a wave of interest in elevating Finance from its traditional support role. Rather than merely crunching numbers, CEOs and CFOs want finance to be a full business partner in developing, challenging, and executing strategy.

Is this the golden age for Corporate Finance? Not quite yet.

Essential Budgeting and Planning System Components: Part 2 - Spreading

Spreading can provide so much more value than it currently does at most organizations. In our newest arcplan Edge deployments, we’ve embedded “corporate spreading” or “volumetric spreading.” It’s different in that it’s a driver-based spread technique, rather than relying on a divisible operator (like percent per month). Essentially it’s multiplication-based rather than division-based. With volumetric spreading, the spread is based on corporate growth drivers like growing transactions or increasing the number of new customers by X amount in the next financial period. The idea is that the costs associated with those drivers should align with the growth rate.

Shared Service Costs: Are They Adding or Destroying Company Value?

Shared services are really a concentration of company resources performing like activities, but they are spread out across the organization to service multiple, internal partners at a lower cost and providing higher levels of service.

Most organizations have shared services, but often do not understand the value that they add to a company or the value that they can destroy.

So what are the goals for shared service centers?

The Role of Planning

We live in an unpredictable world where the future is uncertain. If it was then we would all make a fortune by making strategic ‘bets’ on certain outcomes – we would know what products and services to back, what level of stock and staffing to have, and when and where to market our capabilities for maximum effect.

But the world is not like that.