The Future of Budgeting: An Insider’s View
At ArcherPoint, we strive to be on the cutting edge of all new software advances and tools in the market. We even have a core value to learn and challenge ourselves. Yet, while we focus on technology to help our clients, we forgot to grow and learn in one area of our own business: budgeting.
For years, we used a combination of Excel and Microsoft Dynamics NAV to do all of our budgeting. In 2016, I became accountable for maintaining and creating the budget for our company and inherited the prehistoric budgeting process. I immediately began to research what tools were out there to bring us out of the budgeting Stone Age and to help us keep pace with the rest of our growing business, as well as keep increasing our skills. After months of research and trials, I selected Centage’s Budget Maestro.
Centage’s Budget Maestro and Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Centage’s Budget Maestro was perfect for our needs. It synchronizes readily with Microsoft Dynamics NAV (and various other ERPs), it allows for a high level of customization and detail, and enables all of our leaders to collaborate on the same budget allowing for multiple tiers of access to information and confidentiality. Rather than provide an add on for Excel like so many products I tried, Budget Maestro provides you with a full budgeting platform so that you can experience rich functionality, detailed budgeting, a myriad of reporting options, and a direct connection to Dynamics NAV.
Budget Maestro General Ledger
Budget Maestro has allowed us to create budgets and forecasts that have detail below the general ledger level with descriptions to see the reasoning behind entries. The calculations for any formula used to create amounts that are based upon other budget lines are visible and transparent. In fact, every entry in the budget shows the detail of how that entry will affect other accounts, the income statement, and the balance sheet. It even will continue your budget lines into the next period (month, quarter, year, years) if you want, which makes each new budget easier.
Figure 1 – General Ledger
Budget Maestro lets you enter sales, expenses, capital assets, personnel, and financing as basic lines that have no frills, budgeting using manual entries for those department heads who may be weary of learning something new. It allows a complex level of detail above and below the general ledger level with options to auto calculate, set margins, base amounts on other budget factors, and do What If analysis for those who wish to utilize all that it has to offer. Because Budget Maestro accommodates a range of user abilities and allows each user to have access to specific sections of the budget as needed, it is easy to implement and use for everyone who is part of the budgeting process.
Budget Maestro Personnel Module
My favorite part of Budget Maestro was the Personnel module. We were able to upload our personnel data into the software so that each team member’s salary, PTO, billable hours, department, insurance, taxes, and all the related costs were easily calculated and added to the budget. The personnel module made it easy for us to move team members between departments or factor in annual raises. It gives you the option of budgeting by the specific employee, or for more discretion, budgeting employees in groups by department or job title. The module provides great flexibility so that confidential information can be included in the budget without it being visible to everyone who works on the budget. This built-in respect for team members’ confidentiality was not only useful, but also thoughtful.
Figure 2 – Budget Maestro’s Personnel Module
Centage’s Budget Maestro brought us into the future of budgeting and forecasting, giving us accurate and customizable budgets. It has allowed our team to grow our budgeting skills and abilities, grow our business, and set better goals.
If you are looking for a new way to budget or if you are finding yourself frustrated by your current budgeting process I highly recommend Budget Maestro. This tool will help make your budgets more accurate, detailed and flexible using real data from your Microsoft Dynamics NAV database.