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SunSystems exfm

Prophet or loss - Performance management: beyond the humble spreadsheet

A surprisingly large number of companies continue to rely on non-integrated spreadsheet based systems for their planning, budgeting and forecasting activities. Prone to manual transcription errors and completely unauditable, this over reliance on spreadsheets is the primary cause for a disconnect between business strategy and operations.

The role of the finance department is rapidly changing. External stakeholders such as regulators and investors demand greater fiscal transparency and accountability. Internal stakeholders now require better reports and forecasts that provide greater insight into the drivers of business performance.

Finance professionals are on a hiding to nothing if they believe they can meet these increased demands by use of the humble spreadsheet. In our experience, many senior finance professional privately admit that their performance management processes are woefully inadequate, often citing that speed and accuracy with which they can model, re-plan and forecast business during the fiscal year.

All too often, the planning, budgeting and forecasting cycle relies upon the laborious and redundant manual entry of raw data into spreadsheets, followed by an unpredictable and seemingly endless exchange of files via email. Quite apart from the intrinsic risk of manual data errors, the process is also time consuming and un-auditable - especially at any point of data consolidation. Precise version control is abandoned in favour of stochastic file name creation and data changes are all but impossible to track from one version to another. Little wonder that the prospect of recasting plans and budgets in the light of current conditions is met with trepidation and rarely embarked upon as often as the business demands.

In summary, too much time is spent developing ‘the numbers’ for the planning, budgeting and forecasting cycle, at the expense of time that should be spent developing strategies to improve the current business condition.

Poor performance management will inevitably lead to poor business performance and under these conditions, the company is less likely to invest in better systems to manage the business, favouring instead to focus on removing extraneous cost and investment. The spiralling downturn is now set to continue.

Introducing Extended Financial Management

SunSystems Extended Financial Management has been designed to address these issues. Quicker and more accurate budgeting and forecasting cycles; extra time to concentrate on value-added finance functions and easy alignment of strategy to operations are now all possible with the SunSystems Extended Financial Management solution. Our unique combination of financial management; reporting and performance management applications will help you meet the ever-increasing demands placed on the finance function and ensure you deliver even greater value to the business.

Specifically the SunSystems solution delivers the following benefits:

  • Better budgeting and forecasting quality to improve plans. Rolling forecasts and therefore greater commitment to budgets is possible with SunSystems. Since the planning and operational systems are integrated, it is easy to compare budget, actual and trend information.
  • Superior risk management and appreciation of how internal and external factors affect business strategy. Complex business scenarios can now be modelled and the single integrated environment provides easy access to all necessary data and views e.g. by product, region, route to market etc.)
  • Greater commitment by operations to meet performance targets. Self-service access to performance data engenders a greater sense of commitment to business targets. All budget holders have analytic capabilities and feel in control of their respective business units.
  • Enable the finance department to spend more time on value-add activities. This is achieved by reducing the time spend on transaction processing and ad-hoc reporting in favour of a more alert and exception based reporting strategy.
  • Superior alignment between strategy, budget and operations. Integration of financial systems plays a crucial role in ensuring that strategies flow easily into operational systems and likewise, operational based actual data flows back into the planning environments.
  • Deeper appreciation of the factors that underpin business performance. Largely this is a by-product of the ability to drill down into the transaction system as opposed to being limited to aggregate data often employed by some fractured reporting system.
  • All of these benefits are provided at a total cost of ownership that companies will find remarkably compelling.

After 20 years of providing great value; it’s no surprise that 75 of the FTSE100 and a quarter of the Fortune 500 choose SunSystems. To find out more about our solutions and see and demonstration of how the finance function could operate, contact us to-day.

Understand the components of exfm - click here to view an interactive exfm diagram.

To download the exfm brochure click here.

Read our analyst's view of performance management by clicking here.

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