frustrated with financial planning in excel

7 Signs You’ve Outgrown Financial Forecasting in Excel

If you’re like most businesses, you likely started out doing your financial forecasting in Excel. In fact, roughly 89% of organizations are using spreadsheets to manage company finances. Over time though, you start to realize your company is outgrowing Excel and needs a need solution. You may notice the process is less efficient than it used to be or find yourself needing access to features you didn’t need before. You may also start noticing growing frustration among your colleagues wishing there were an easier way.

7 Signs You’ve Outgrown Excel

  1. You’re spending hours doing what could take minutes
  2. You don’t have the data when you need it
  3. Only one person understands the financial models
  4. You’ve accidentally sent sensitive data, such as salaries
  5. You’ve made changes, only to find out someone else was making changes too and yours didn’t save
  6. You’ve lost track of sheets sent via email
  7. You lack the time for financial forecasting altogether

Moving Away From Financial Forecasting in Excel

Okay, so you know what the problems are, but what are the solutions and can I afford them? So glad you asked! There are a number of solutions out there depending on the size of your company and your financial forecasting, budgeting, and planning needs.

Solutions for Small Businesses

  • Sage Intacct
  • Vena
  • Prophix Software
  • Planning Maestro by Centage

Solutions for Large Businesses

Great! I’ve made the switch, but how do I integrate my data?

Glad you asked! DataBlend has pre-built API connections that will allow you to integrate all of your financial data between systems, stress-free. You’ll always have up-to-date data, won’t need to hinder your IT team’s productivity with the creation of new connections and support for new versions, and you’ll have the support you need, when you need it.

Already made the switch and need help with integrating your data? Contact us for a demo.

3 Ways Disconnected Data Can Lead to Financial Loss

When starting a new business, disconnected data is not something most people consider. Oftentimes, ensuring you have systems that integrate with each other is simply not the priority. Many companies will choose software for basic accounting, like QuickBooks to get started. They then use spreadsheets, such as Excel for much of their data. As the company grows, they continue to add systems to assist with various parts of their business. Eventually, they’ll realize they have data in numerous siloed systems. Suddenly, they don’t know how to connect these systems to get holistic insights. This can lead to financial loss and stunted growth of the company. 

The Cost of Disconnected Systems

When data disconnects are present, companies will have difficulty scaling and growing. This can inhibit their flexibility, productivity, budgeting, and planning and can slow the company’s overall growth.

Major Costs

  • Lack of Employee Productivity
    When data is in various, disconnected systems, it becomes difficult to keep track of it all. Oftentimes employees must manually enter data, which can lead to data loss, an increase in errors, and precious time taken away from more important, core tasks.
  • No Real-Time Data Leading to Lack of Meaningful Insights
    When financial systems are disconnected, it is impossible to come up with meaningful insights in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if you have your accounting and bookkeeping in one system, track transactions in another, and use yet another for budgeting and forecasting, it becomes impossible to see the big picture in real-time. It can take too long to source, extract, and analyze the data leaving important financial insights up to chance. In fact, 46% of business leaders say disconnected document processes impair their ability to plan, forecast, and budget because of lack of visibility. This can lead to major missed growth opportunities and put a big dent in a company’s bottom line.
  • Integration Complexity & Cost
    Eventually, to make sense of the siloed data, integration becomes a topic of conversation. At this point, there are multiple systems that don’t “talk to each other” and the company needs a solution so they can continue to grow. The next step is to ask IT to find a solution to connect all of these systems. This wastes valuable time and money where IT could be working on more important tasks. Furthermore, it isn’t a one-time setup and done. It takes time to maintain and anytime a new version of any of the software system releases, IT would have to create new connections. This leads to both wasted time and skyrocketing maintenance costs.

Why Integration is Important to Avoid Disconnected Data

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve just told you data integration can be expensive and time-consuming. While this is true, we have also seen why having connected data is incredibly important. However, we don’t want you to reinvent the wheel and try to transfer all of your company’s financial data to an entirely new system. The key is finding a solution that frees up your IT team to do what they do best, while also having real-time, meaningful insights. That is where DataBlend comes in. We can quickly and easily set up connections between all of your financial systems so you always have up-to-date information at your fingertips. This means you can choose the best individual solutions for each aspect of your company while not having to worry about how they can integrate.

5 Ways To Utilize DataBlend’s Adaptive Insights Export

One of DataBlend’s most powerful capabilities is the Adaptive Insights export. The ability to export data out of Adaptive allows the user not only to integrate with other systems, but integrate with Adaptive itself. In addition, data is exported in a very clean format using DataBlend’s intuitive Query Builder, eliminating the need for any complex transformations. Below are 5 examples of how the Adaptive Insights data source can be utilized.

1. Exporting data from one version and importing to another

One of the most useful capabilities is moving data from one version to another with the click of a button. Common workflows for this include static data imports, moving actuals to plan versions for scenario planning, integration between different sheet types (i.e. modeled to cube), or even instance to instance integration (production to sandbox). All of these examples will drastically save time, as this is typically all done with manual export/import processes and Excel manipulation.

2. Zero out data from planning versions

A great feature of Adaptive is the ability to erase actuals for fresh data imports. However, the ability to erase data for particular accounts or levels in planning versions is not available, unless you create a new blank version. With DataBlend, you can create a workflow that will export the data with the elements you choose, and then you can easily convert all of that data to zeros and import back to Adaptive. This gives you a clean slate to either import a new set of data or enter in new budget or forecast data.

3. Push data to a flat file

Full data extracts out of Adaptive can be useful, whether it’s for a reporting baseline or using the data for an import to another system. With DataBlend’s clean Adaptive Export, you can get an Excel or CSV output in perfect format. Using DataBlend’s ETL capabilities, you can even make the most complex transformations simple.

4. Push data to another system

DataBlend has bi-directional integration capabilities with Adaptive. Not only can ERP and CRM data be imported to drive forecasts and budgets, but data can be pushed back to those same ERP and CRM systems as well. This is important for stakeholders who may not have access to Adaptive, since it enables them to view budget, forecast and metric data in the systems they do have access to. Furthermore, Account and Department structures along with other metadata can all be aligned from system to system.

5. Export prior month balances to create current month balances

A unique but fairly common usecase is the ability to export prior month balance data in order to create current month balances. This comes in handy if your ERP or GL system can only export periodic change, or “delta”. Combining deltas with prior month balances in DataBlend generates current month balances, which is useful if your historical Actuals have already been set as “Balance” without having to change the account type and re-import history.

 

Take a look at how easy it is to build an Adaptive Export in the video below, and request a demo today!

DataBlend iPaaS

How DataBlend iPaaS Saves Time and Improves Business Insight

DataBlend iPaaS Saves Time and Improves Business InsightAn English proverb wisely states, ‘Time is the soul of business.’

Achieving results in business depends on how well you manage time for optimal productivity. It’s a busy day at work and you are making progress on, for example, a revenue planning project. The project involves a lot of collaboration between your colleagues in the finance, sales, and marketing teams. As you exchange e-mails and spreadsheets, the project surely yet slowly heads to completion.

This may appear to be a tried and true method, but what if there’s a way for you to get the project to the finish line faster? There is with DataBlend, the cloud-based integration platform as a service (iPaaS). Now, you can manage your core operations better than ever before.

In the data-driven world of business, DataBlend gives you the capability to discover real-time insights that lead to informed decisions. It automates the extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) of data so you have more time to evaluate the data in your financial and operational systems. How is your company performing? Where is your company headed to in the future? Want to track and project multiple streams of revenue? When you use the platform to streamline your data flows between systems, you can focus on value-added analysis and strategy.

DataBlend iPaaS Saves Time and Improves Business InsightHere are the benefits DataBlend provides for your organization:

Unify the Data

When you unify data, you transform it into full-picture insights. That’s the beauty of integration. Bring data together in a budgeting, forecasting and reporting system like Adaptive Insights, and it’s incredible what you can discover about your organization. You develop a deeper understanding of performance in the past, present, and future.

What happens during DataBlend’s integration workflow? The platform transfers data to and from your mission-critical systems including enterprise resource planning (ERP), corporate performance management (CPM) and customer relationship management (CRM) and syncs it across systems. With automatically synced data, you can unlock key business insights faster and easier. No more unnecessary manual entry of data.

There’s another benefit. Because your organization’s departments are now working from the same “sheet of music,” you improve collaboration and maximize productivity between team members.

Your Critical Systems Are Connected

Connectivity between your systems is also important in data management. You get the most results from your systems when they function as a “team”. DataBlend creates that team of technology.

Prior to integration, your systems operate in silos. Since they’re not in sync, they’re not aligned with each other. What’s the solution? Bridge this communication gap through integration.

When DataBlend iPaaS integrates your financial and operational systems, they communicate with each other and your data is aligned.

That’s a helpful ability to have when you manage projects and want the full picture of business performance.

Access Information Anytime, Anywhere

We clearly live in a mobile world.

As organizations grow and people increasingly access information from their cell phones, this mobility calls for stability. What’s the best way to stay in the know anytime, anywhere?

It’s the Cloud.

As a cloud-based integration platform, DataBlend gives you immediate access to the integrations and workflows within your organization. Because you can access it from anywhere, you stay productive while on the road.

Cloud-based systems put time on your side. You and your team members can now leverage information from wherever you are without lapses in productivity.

Get the Full Picture

Picture this. You and your fellow team members are at the conference table, in the middle of a discussion about how to best proceed with an initiative.

You have an idea supported by holistic data you compiled from your integrated financial systems. You present your findings with illuminating graphs, charts, and other pictorial representations. Your presentation sparks contemplation. It makes a compelling business case.

As you say your concluding remarks, you see people nod in approval. Everyone is enthusiastic about your data-driven idea. It’s then put into action.

With DataBlend, you can provide the full picture that brings people on board with your ideas. You gain the sense of perspective that helps your organization thrive.

Drive Operational Change

DataBlend is transformative. It’s where data becomes your discovery.

Because you have the full picture of business performance, you can drive operational change that brings your success to the next level. You can guide your organization to a bright financial future.

Want to bring your success to the next level with DataBlend? Unify your data today.

Build Your Success with DataBlend

To learn more about how DataBlend iPaaS can help your organization, please tune into the recorded demo: