Business intelligence informs how you run your operation. It feeds into your immediate day-to-day decision making as well as your strategic plans, budgeting and forecasting.
It’s crucial to your performance that you get your budgeting right. Here, we examine how business intelligence systems can help with your budget planning.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence software gives you a full picture of the various metrics in your business. The data can then be used by the executive team as a basis for making their critical business decisions, whether strategic or tactical, long-term or short-term.
The raw information is pulled from a single repository and formatted into reports, data visualisations and dashboards, which are quick and easy to understand and process. The in-depth reports and analyses give management the vital detail they need to improve their operations.
Data at Your Fingertips
When it comes to budgeting, it takes time and effort to wrangle the data out of each department head or collate the information you need from several spreadsheets.
A business intelligence system does all of that for you – instantly. The mundane work is all automated, allowing you to get on with making your budget judgements. When you don’t have to labour over collecting all the necessary assumptions and figures, you will speed up the time it takes to create your budgets.
Incorporate Past Performance Data
With accurate, historical data you can be certain that your information is dependable enough to base an upcoming budgetary plan on. Trust in your numbers ensures you can make your budgeting decisions with confidence.
Using historical business intelligence, you can better plan for future sales, plotting and assessing past performance – across products, or by consultant, or according to regions or subsidiary company. The same is true for other budgeting parameters – like headcount and salaries, operating expenses, fixed costs, cash flow and profit. Each of these can be analysed, together or separately, to determine how you set your budgets.
The sales department wants to base its budgets on information that is relevant. It is not interested in what the warehouse pick performance is like, nor does it care how high the staff turnover in marketing is.
Business intelligence systems that run across a company can be personalised for each user. This role-based data provides each department with its own set of relevant metrics.
Quickly Build Planning Scenarios
The pandemic has challenged many businesses, forcing them to reassess their budgets and plans almost overnight.
Managing uncertainty like this is easier when you have the functionality of a business intelligence tool that can quickly build out different planning scenarios. You can adjust the assumptions and inputs, then evaluate each alternative model on its merits, ultimately choosing the right one for your business, subsidiary or department. Predictive forecasts can even be modelled at the drop of a hat, facilitating internal management meetings that come at short notice.
With the economic landscape still looking uncertain for many industries, going forward, this level of agility could be the key to determining your company’s future profit – or even its survival.
Collaborating with others and relying on spreadsheets and diverse data sources can make your data prone to errors. It only takes a few incorrect keystrokes and your entire, carefully modelled scenario could be entirely inaccurate.
A business intelligence tool gives you the efficiency of automated and centralised data, without any manual rekeying of figures. When your base data is accurate, you can be confident that the budgets you produce are a true reflection of your company’s past performance and its future potential.
Quickly Review Performance
Where budgets need to be adaptable, you will value the capacity to quickly see how well you are already performing.
Business intelligence software with the capability to produce reports and visual displays that show budgets, forecasts and actuals can help you to tweak your budgets according to how you are doing. You can create reports and dashboards in minutes – and any changes you make are immediately reflected in the outputs.
How NetSuite Can Help
NetSuite Planning and Budgeting is a business intelligence module that comes pre-configured with various reports, dashboards, KPIs and best practice processes.
This powerful analytics software allows you to develop flexible budgets, which you can fine-tune by applying assumptions about both short-term scenarios and long-term financial objectives.
Projections for revenue and expenditure allow you to quickly build out your budgets without having to collect or consolidate manual data. You can quickly estimate revenue, expenditure, margins and profit – by department or entity.
NetSuite saves your accounting, departmental and management staff time and effort, speeding up the budget planning process for all.
For more information, watch our webinar recording on NetSuite Planning and Budgeting, or contact us to speak to a certified consultant, who can demonstrate NetSuite’s planning and budgeting capabilities.