Budgeting is perhaps the most dreaded aspect of operating a business. Between the painstaking process of developing the budget, the wrangling over monetary allocation, and the challenges of accurately projecting future revenues and costs, budgeting is a tedious and consuming process that many businesses find exacerbating.

Fortunately, your company doesnt have to suffer. There are some easy tactics to streamline the budget cycle, improving both the efficiency and accuracy of the process.

Figure Out Whats Driving Your Business

Identify the core factors that aredriving your business, so you can prioritize resource allocation to support your primary business goals. Analyzing and assessing the drivers of success will enable you to create budgets in a way that support your core business functions and promote the future financial success of your business.

Stop Relying on Excel

If your company is still relying primarily on Excel, then youve just identified a key source of your headaches. According to a recent poll, about 49 percent of enterprises are primarily utilizing Excel for their budget cycle, despite the inefficiencies and inaccuracies it presents. Excel relies wholly on manual data entry, which is notoriously inaccurate and tedious. Not only will it drastically increase the length of your budget cycle, but it decreases the accuracy of the numbers. If your business hopes to implement a streamlined budget cycle, eliminating Excel is the first step.

Start Leveraging the Cloud

With the cloud, you can integrate financial and operational data into one place, providing you with a single source of truth that will improve the accuracy of analysis and forecasting. With cloud-based software, you can also avoid the installation and management costs associated with on-premises solutions. It will enable you to leverage data more effectively, thus facilitating the budget cycle with greater accuracy and efficiency.

Implement Rolling Forecasts

Rolling forecastsare perhaps the greatest tool at your disposal for reducing dependency on the annual budget, while improving the accuracy of planning. A rolling forecast will enable your team to revisit and update planning assumptions periodically, providing the agility needed to respond quickly to industry or economic fluctuations.

Automate as Much as Possible

Automation is efficiency in action. Byautomating tasks, you can conquer more work in less time, thus greatly streamlining the budget cycle. An additional perk is improved accuracy. With task automation, youll reduce the human errors associated with manual data entry, thus improving the reliability of your results.

Create a Routine

The key to optimizing the budget cycle is by getting your team into a set routine. Establish specific roles for each team member and ensure theyre well-versed in their particular duties. Create timelines for your team to perpetually meet, so no aspect of the budget cycle is neglected. With a set routine in place, your team can develop a rhythm for conquering the budget cycle efficiently, while still prioritizing accuracy.

Improve Planning and Forecasting with Enterprise Performance Management

Enterprise performance management (EPM) software will provide your team with the tools they need to streamline the budget cycle and improve forecasting accuracy. It will decrease your reliance on Excel, providing you with a cloud-based platform to leverage data, improve analysis, and facilitate rolling forecasts.

To learn more, read the whitepaper:Financial Planning and Forecasting Best Practices

WASHINGTON, DC - US Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho today issued the following joint statement during a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a draft wildfire funding bill:

As prepared for delivery:

The Ministry of Social Development has launched what it describes as a major shift in how it funds and supports budget services.

But Grey Power and budgeting advisers, who have seen the new contract fear, it will reduce services for clients, including the elderly.

One budgeting adviser said the new contract was geared towards getting younger people off benefits and back to work, rather than assisting the elderly on fixed incomes.

The adviser, who RNZ News agreed not to identify, said older people were vulnerable and many struggled to meet the cost of basics like medicines and rent.

Their medicines, Work and Income will purchase a quarter of the bottle because thats all the ability that Work and Income allow for, so the clients arent getting the pills because they havent got the money for it.

Now their rents have gone up. Ive got one superannuitant whose rent has gone up by $70 a week. Thats exactly what we had for food, they said.

Grey Power national president Tom OConnor said many elderly people hesitated to talk about their private income issues and didnt seek help until they were at crisis point.

At that stage the most important thing a budget service does is negotiate with the debtors to allow debts to be paid off in a manner that normally wouldnt be allowed.

The fact that a budgeting service has got involved generally gives the debtor some confidence that the debt will be paid off eventually, Mr OConnor said.

But he said those negotiations often took more than a couple of sessions.

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon Department of Human Services officials met at the LCC campus Wednesday.

This is the third in a series of meetings DHS is holding across the state. The meetings are intended to gather input from the public going into the 2017 budgeting session.

Directors from five different DHS programs gave small presentations. Those programs were:

  • Aging and People with Disabilities
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Child Welfare
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Vocational Rehabilitation

Each director shared recent successes, as well as future goals for each program. After the presentations, each program split into groups.

One of those groups was led by Jason Walling, the deputy director of child welfare for DHS. He took questions and input from community members.

We dont feel part of the team, said one foster parent at the meeting. We dont feel heard.

Walling says that a big issue in the foster system is not having the time to really support our foster families the way that they need to be supported, and should be supported.

One plan for the Child Welfare program is to create a 24/7 hotline for foster parents to help during an emergency and connect them with resources at any time. According to DHS, there were an average of 7,500 children in foster care on any given day in 2015.

DHS has three more town hall meetings scheduled in Medford, Bend and Pendleton.