IDU | Budgeting Forecasting and Reporting Solutions: August 2015

Monday, 17 August 2015

5 Benefits of taking your financial software mobile

If you are looking for ways to make your business more efficient and effective, introducing your financial software onto mobile platforms may be the best way to do so. 

With the pervasiveness of mobile devices in today’s society, people want to be able to access their information anywhere at any time. Whether you choose to supply your managers with mobile devices or you allow them to use their own, you need software that is built to run across different platforms and devices, specifically the most commonly used operating systems Windows, Android and Apple iOS.

Here are 5 benefits of going mobile

Greater Productivity
So much of our time is wasted; commuting, sitting in airports or on planes, sitting in remote hotel rooms in strange cities. Mobile access can help you and your employees to use that time productively by providing them with real time access to data.

Enhanced decision making    
To maximise the benefit of your data, all the relevant information needs to be accessible to all your stakeholders regardless of where they are located. Secure real-time reports available on mobile devices allow decision makers to review the information they need to make quick informed decisions.

Overview from anywhere
Having access to your financial information wherever you are, allows you to maintain a complete overview of your company’s performance at all times; whether you are in meetings, in a remote office, on a customer visit, or across the world. You remain in the know and in control.

Client Satisfaction
Having access to your reports and information from wherever you are also improves your ability to respond to client questions instantly and in far greater depth, which reflects well on you and leaves customers feeling happier and confident in your business.

Real-time Accurate Data Capture 
Mobile software makes it simple and easy for your employees to enter relevant data accurately as they gather it in the field; as opposed to having to wait until they are back in the office to transcribe their notes into the system, leaving far less room for error.

Mobile devices have made working wherever you are simple. If you choose financial software that is designed to scale with your business and adjust to ever changing technologies, you will be able to take advantage of deeper business capabilities and insights. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Are your spreadsheets leading you astray?

Recent international research has proven what we have known for quite some time; simple mistakes in company spreadsheets can put a businesses at huge financial risk. In many large businesses, senior decision makers rely completely on their spreadsheets to make key financial decisions; from budgeting and forecasting, to making investment and pricing decisions.

While a number of larger businesses might have sophisticated ERP systems in place, they are often complex to understand and most of the actual work still happens in spreadsheets. 

A common and recognised issue is that too often only one person knows how the financial spreadsheets are constructed. This person may have created unique formulas or special systems that make complete sense to them. What happens when that person leaves, in a planned or unplanned fashion?

Because of the complexity of the information and a lack of formal and easy to understand systems of working, other people can’t understand or double check the information. Where people who don’t understand the numbers or the spreadsheets are having to add or update information, the potential for errors is massive. 

A very interesting research paper came out late last year. Dr Felienne Hermans of Delft University of Technology, had the opportunity to analyse almost 16,000 spreadsheets from within one massive failed business, the infamous Enron. 

The spreadsheets were from the Enron email archives, part of the documents released after the finalisation of the legal proceedings. It gave the researchers a unique opportunity to analyse not only the spreadsheets themselves, but also the email behaviour within the company directly related to those spreadsheets. 

Dr Hermans found that around a quarter of the spreadsheet formulas had errors; 59% of the unique formulas with errors had one or more dependent cells… meaning that those errors would likely impact in other areas of that, and other, spreadsheets. One simple mistake, the incorrect entry of a comma, and the domino effect could make the data in your spreadsheets unusable.

She also found that people within the organisation were sending more than 100 spreadsheets back and forth every day, proving that there was no agreed or standardised system in place; and of the 10% of emails sending or referring to spreadsheets, they were frequently discussing errors in, and updates to, those same spreadsheets.

Even though spreadsheets have been shown to be fallible time and again, they continue to be at the heart of innumerable financial information systems. The bigger you get, the more complex your business is and the more prone to errors your spreadsheets are; leading to financial losses, poor decision making and wasted time.

There is a reason that so many businesses are investing in specialised software that is easy to use and understand for financial and non-financial users. An investment in consistent, real-time systems that save you massive amounts of time, provide you with peace of mind that the numbers you are working with are a true reflection of your financial state, and thereby save you actual money; is an investment in the long-term future of your business.