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Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

Are Bad Planning and Budgeting Tools Killing Your Growth?

Guest Author

By Jennifer Toomey, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Oracle Cloud Go to Market

Is your SMB a “$100 million organization trapped in the body of a $30 million company”?

I read that quote in a Harvard Business Review article suggesting that many SMBs have difficulties scaling up. They often find themselves spending more than they are bringing in because they don’t have systems and tools in place to support growth.

One such tool that might be holding you back? Spreadsheets. Studies show that 70% of companies still use spreadsheets to manage their planning processes, and 48% say that they make the planning process difficult.

What does this mean for your SMB? It probably means that you are buried in data that provides minimal insight into your growth potential and capacity. When you face the unexpected—a sudden ramp-up in production, a need for expanded manufacturing capacity, or a shortage of sales staff—you need the right data to get the information you need to make the right decisions.

Does your SMB want to find new growth opportunities? GO learn how to uncover them

But that is just one facet of the problem. What if you have different departments working off of disconnected spreadsheets? The only word that comes to mind is “nightmare.” Think about all the time you’re wasting reconciling siloed spreadsheets as you plan—for example—your annual marketing budget. Could you quickly determine how much money to allocate for ad campaigns that involve different business units or departments? Probably not.

Scenario planning and collaboration are critical pieces of the budgeting and forecasting puzzle. At Oracle, my colleagues and I help small and medium business executives move from manual, disconnected spreadsheets to a centralized cloud-based planning and forecasting system. Here are just two examples.

Centralization Helps Global PR and Marketing Agency

Racepoint Global, a public relations and visual marketing agency, anticipated significant growth, but manual budgeting tools created anxiety for company leaders.

“When you have international operations, and you’re dealing with currency conversion, spreadsheets only get you so far,” said Racepoint Global CFO Ed Abell. “As a CFO, you’re always kind of losing sleep over whether these spreadsheets are all connected together or whether somebody put in the wrong formula. So what we were looking to do is put all this together in once centralized place without breaking the bank.”

The company was on track to increase revenues from $30 million to $50 million over a 24-month period. Racepoint had been working with multiple, unwieldy spreadsheets that staff members shared with each other. The company needed to centralize planning across global operations to improve accuracy and planning-process flexibility. Racepoint implemented Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud to improve visibility and collaboration.

Some of the key budgeting-related benefits Racepoint Global experienced included:

  • Shortening the planning timetable by 4 weeks
  •  The ability to more quickly understand the business impact of workforce decisions on overall expense plans
  • A fast, secure 10-week deployment—just in time for the company’s next planning process
  • Simplified IT management and administration, reducing the need for capital investment and freeing IT staff to focus on initiatives that supported innovation in the firm’s digital marketing offerings

“The biggest benefit we [got] out of this is that everything is together. We can extrapolate that data and slice it, dice it … and really do some long-term planning,” Abell said.

Clear Financial Forecasts Ahead for Swimwear Firm

Manhattan Beachwear, which sells about 40 different brands and has 800 employees across multiple locations, had similar needs. Like Racepoint Global, the company needed a system that could support growth more effectively than its manual budgeting processes.

The company was using Excel for forecasting and planning, which the finance team found cumbersome and labor-intensive. They wanted to spend less time on manual effort and more time on analysis.

Manhattan Beachwear chose Planning and Budgeting Cloud because of limited IT resources to support an on-premise system and its desire to reduce capital expenditures.

Since implementing the cloud-based system, the company has rolled out the solution to both sales and finance areas, realizing the following improvements:

  • More time spent on value-added tasks by eliminating the need to input data and email reports back and forth
  • Ability to look further out in the future—beyond a year—thereby enhancing production planning
  • Securely share data with the ability to send brand and customer information, while limiting visibility to relevant information
  • Data can be inputted directly by sales teams who can then run reports seamlessly to access information needed for accurate and timely sales forecasting.  

Seek Scalable Planning and Budgeting Tools

Moving away from spreadsheets destroys silos, allowing you to collaborate and plan more effectively as your SMB grows. Don’t be one of those midsize companies that, as HBR puts it, “haven’t quite grown into the size they’ve achieved” because they cannot scale properly to support their growth.   

Disconnected, manual processes with poor visibility impede your agility and your ability to respond to change. You’ll spend too much time gathering information and not enough time analyzing it, which will exponentially increase your costs as you try to grow.

Rudimentary accounting tools may have worked for your SMB during its start-up phase, but now it’s time to consider more advanced tools that offer visibility and scalability as you “GO for Growth.”

Oracle’s small and medium business solutions are what you need to make this transition. If your planning and budgeting process seems sluggish and time-consuming, contact an Oracle SMB expert to learn more about Planning and Budgeting Cloud. Let’s chat! 

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