“The budgeting process at most companies has to be the most ineffective process in management” – Jack Welch

Budgeting can feel like a solitary exercise, working in and out of systems and email chains, scrambling to find the right information. It can be time-consuming, unwieldly and frustrating.

Here are 3 tips to help your organization to simplify the budgeting process, saving time and effort.

1. Centralize Data Collection

Budgeting workflows often span multiple teams across multiple systems to pull the data they need. From accounting systems to spreadsheets to forecasting solutions back to spreadsheets and finally into reporting solutions, these workflows leave a lot of room for error. To avoid these errors and headaches, organizations should redesign their sequential process into a consolidated central budgeting environment where all data can be stored. A single database ensures that users are accessing a single source of truth.

2. Simplify Workflow Communications

Even with a centralized system, coordinating who will do what, when, and in what order can still result in a tangled backlog of emails and confusion among staff that wastes time and energy. To simplify this, teams should keep a central record of actions to complete within each property file. This ensures that everyone has the latest record of tasks completed by others and what they are responsible for. Moving this project plan out of emails and into each property also provides managers with a central location to monitor progress and address any pertinent issues like major variances to actuals. With a centralized communication plan, teams can complete budgets faster and with greater accuracy.

3. Use the Right Tool for the Job

Systems built around spreadsheets often seem like the best solution because they provide a simple and approachable bridge between existing software. Unfortunately, spreadsheets often enable fragmented workflows across the entire budgeting team rather than increasing their productivity. To simplify this, organizations should use solutions that consolidate planning, budgeting, forecasting, and workflow applications into one so teams get greater control, minimize errors, and reduce the overall time it takes to complete budgets.

By utilizing these three tips to streamline budgeting, organizations will be able to reallocate time spent pulling together budgets into more time planning how they will attain greater returns from their assets.

See how ARGUS helped Equity One halve their budgeting cycle from 10 to 5 months.