Inefficient finance planning tools 'costing time and money'

Pencil and Calculator
robert-outram By Robert Outram, Editor The CA magazine

28 January 2016

Finance directors would like to spend more time on planning, but inefficient systems and ill-organised spreadsheets are holding them back, according to a study.

A recent survey of FDs found that 70 per cent of those polled would like to plan their business investments and expenditure more frequently than they do.

The study, carried out by financial software business Accountagility, suggested that most finance departments conduct their key planning processes just twice a year on average, with more than one-quarter (28 per cent) completing their planning cycles just once a year.

Holding them back from doing more are the proliferation of spreadsheets (56 per cent), the volume of data involved (51 per cent) and the labour intensity (49 per cent) that is needed to collect, validate, analyse and report on the information.

The research, 'Putting Finance Departments in Control', was based on responses from 200 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors (FDs) who were polled in September 2015.

Robert Gothan, CEO and Founder of Accountagility, said: "Every company knows that financial planning is essential for commercial success, which is precisely why so much time and money is committed to this area. However, it is not always well invested.

"CFOs are being asked to play an increasingly strategic role in the business, but this is compromised by the amount of manual work involved within their planning processes. This diverts valuable resources from analysing their plans and using this information to generate critical business insight that is crucial to sound governance and future growth."

Robert added: "More efficient planning will enable finance departments to spend less time working in the process, and more time working on the business."

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