Tips to improve your budgeting and forecasting process

by. Alan Jackson

Spreadsheets are a basic, essential tool in the financial world, right?

Expecting a community banker to work without a spreadsheet would be like telling a home builder to construct a house without a hammer and nails, wouldn’t it? Not necessarily.

Some tasks will always be best accomplished using spreadsheets, but when it comes to planning, budgeting and forecasting, spreadsheets come with limitations. Those shortcomings can seriously hobble your ability to successfully complete these key tasks accurately. Inaccurate planning can directly impact your bottom line.

How do you know if your spreadsheets are holding you back? What are the indicators that it’s time for your organization to move beyond the spreadsheet for forward-looking tasks?

Here are three you may recognize as relevant:

  1. Inaccuracy would be disastrous: No one wants to be wrong, of course, but in some situations inaccuracy can spell disaster. For example, a wrong prediction of deposit trends could leave your bank with a serious shortfall, or cause you to miss a vibrant growth opportunity.
  2. Too many hands may spoil the stew: The more hands your data passes through, the greater the chance that something will get scrambled. With spreadsheets, it’s simply too easy for a formula to become broken as the document moves from team member to team member.
continue reading »