In the essence of a “Dear Abbey” advice column, we at Planful are trying to tackle your biggest financial process questions. This series of blog posts called, Dear Mr. EPM will look to answer questions on some of your challenges. Have a question for us – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Mr. EPM,
I’m an FP&A Manager at an organization that is in the midst of our budget planning cycle. Last year we took the typical route of building the budget for the business with only limited input from the business owners. Which resulted in less-than-perfect numbers and a failure to understand and address the financial needs of each department, and lots of back and forth until the budget was right. This year we sought to get more input from the business owners as they are a critical input for creating a budget that fits their needs.
However, getting business owners to participate in the budgeting process is proving to be difficult. We’ve tried to make it as simple as we could for them with countless emails, pre-filled spread templates with questions and even running reports for them. But it just seems like they aren’t engaged so how do I get my business owners to be a more active participant in budgeting?
–BUDGETS NEED THE BUSINESS
Dear BUDGETS NEED THE BUSINESS,
This is a very common issue. Budgeting can be intimidating if it’s not part of your everyday work. Moreover, if it is not their primary responsibility, getting busy budget owners to fill in all their line items can be challenging. But with the right tools, the right data, and a little communication, your co-workers might just love budgeting as much as you do.
Non-finance users would likely yawn at the sight of a general ledger account template, so it’s important to give those budget owners a planning tool with terminology and visuals they use in their daily work. For example, a VP of marketing who lives in a world of leads, opportunities, and funnels will be much more engaged in the budgeting process if the tool, like Planful Myplan, presents the actions the budget owner needs to take in those terms. When everyone is speaking the right language, business owners are more engaged in the process and feel accountable for the numbers they provide to the finance team. In turn, finance gets more relevant, timely budgeting data.
Meet with budget owners to understand what they’re doing to drive the business and their planning process. Then empower them to enter data and run reports using a budgeting and planning system that works for them, rather than having to hound finance to do it for them. When budget owners are empowered to take responsibility in the budgeting process, they’re more engaged, and in many cases rewarded because they’re getting a tool that helps them run their business better.
Here to fill the GAAPs in your Finance processes,
p.s. Download our Complete Guide to Modernizing Your Financial Processes – to get all the tips and tricks on how an EPM system brings planning, budgeting, and forecasting to the digital workplace.