It’s February… Do You Know Where Your Budgets Are?
Finalizing numbers and gathering information from the prior year is a huge goal for the first month of the new fiscal year. For many companies, deadlines are getting closer and the pressure for fast, accurate reporting is increasing. Having immediate access to up-to-date info allows executives to make informed strategic decisions, increase their transparency to investors, and find holistic ways to improve internal processes—which experts agree, is the best strategy.
Unfortunately, there are many occasions where businesses fall short of their reporting goals, often with negative long-term results. Without timely reports, issues from being able to expand effectively to paying taxes in a timely manner. What makes it so easy to miss these important metrics? How can these problems be prevented?
The reasons are as varied as the companies themselves. Monitoring the budget throughout the year and including the time necessary for review is often a critical issue. Keeping track of your budget against committed expenses and actual payments shows your leadership team what important targets are being met. Cross-training and employee flexibility is increasing, letting business owners reduce overhead without sacrificing service. However, it limits the available workforce for off-schedule projects, like compiling reports with significant amounts of data.
In addition, growing enterprises or companies with locations spread over the U.S. may have difficulty keeping this information centralized, making effective reporting even harder. Cutting-edge companies take advantage of web-based software packages available for Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Budgeting, and more. Using an integrated solution puts this information in the same place and makes key data simpler to locate.
Combining interrelated accounting functions in the same software platform streamlines the financial reporting process. The NextProcess automated accounts payable software is an easily accessible repository of invoices and credit memos with built-in reporting to track spend by vendor, general ledger account, cost center, and more. Other software modules can be easily integrated with the platform but many clients instead opt to expand their presence and will incorporate Capital Project Management, Procurement, and even Expense Report Software to transform their financial workflow. Customizable reporting with data from a central source helps you compare the company’s spending targets against historical data quickly and easily.
Capital Project Management requires its own layer of expense tracking. Large projects especially are susceptible to the dreaded “scope creep”—as analysis continues, the requirements and cost of the project slowly start to grow and break the budget barriers that were set. Ongoing monitoring and automated alerts notify executive leadership and the management team of changes. If spending starts to get out of control, project managers have the opportunity to reign things back in.
One of the greatest obstacles to transparency, historically, has been keeping information secure while providing highly specific access for important decision makers and stakeholders. Online software has expanded and access to financial information has never been greater. But be careful—software packages can come with special fees for user licensing and lack security customization. In NextProcess’ platform, reports can be emailed automatically to key team members on specific schedules and improving turnaround time on key budget reporting. Temporary or permanent access can be added and restricted easily, keeping operations transparent while maintaining confidentiality at no additional cost to clients.
All of these problems can impact companies differently but starting off each year with a plan for budget monitoring will make all the difference. Leave your budgeting problems in the past where they belong and see where advanced reporting tools can take you.