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Improve Your Budgeting and Forecasting

Budgeting is one of those unavoidable tasks that most of us would prefer not to do, especially when budgeting and/or forecasting for a corporation of multiple moving parts. 

Any healthy sized company can likely agree that Excel spreadsheets are just not intuitive, dynamic, or powerful enough to handle modern business demands. If this is the case, it might be the right time for you to begin the search for a budgeting solution to simplify and enhance planning processes.  These modern tools expedite budgeting and forecasting by including collaboration, a natural prerequisite in planning for the future.  Living within your company’s means is important to maintaining a competitive edge especially for companies within the mining and mining services industry.

Making room for something new.

The Budgeting and forecasting process tends to involve multiple players bringing current research and historical actuals to the table for a new, informed strategy.  Most financial professionals have used Excel, and despite being trusted, it can be logistically tedious when more than one moving part is working together, when it comes to collaboration, consolidation of spreadsheets, and security.  Because most of us already have Excel, investing in another product might seem expensive.  However third party budgeting solutions are becoming more popular through increasingly improving the Mining and Mining Services budgeting and planning processes.

Easy-to-use, collaborative, and flexible budgeting platforms have increased the popularity of budgeting and forecasting software. One way has been through having an interface similar to Excel’s with employees being able to adopt the software easily through of the spreadsheet software.  Newer software also makes it possible to get away from linking separate, manually built spreadsheets with the most powerful solutions focusing on automation, dynamic accounting logic, and reusable templates for your ease of use.

Taking a specific budget process within a mining or mining services company that has been developed with Excel and transforming that into a system that allows that companies to continue to have the familiar feel of their budgeting process, whilst putting the rigger of a real system in place is something we have managed to do using the Solver CPM product.

We spoke to a CFO who mentioned she was hesitant to implement new budgeting software due to logistics and security hiccups.  However modern budgeting software like Solver offers built-in password protection and customizable e-mail distribution, meaning that supervisors can securely have ownership in the budgets that they have to manage, while avoiding long, attachment-heavy e-mail threads.

Taking that one step further, companies that have developed a full Life of Mine Plan (the approved long term plan for a mine site) generally review that plan once every few years. Feeding that plan, shorter term plans are developed that form part of the planning cycle, taking into account actual events and changes that have been identified. Physical quantities in the budget plan drive the budget costs via the appropriate cost models, these can then evolve in detail and accuracy over time. Budgeting solutions help deliver the drivers that feed each of these plans to ensure mining operations have few unexpected surprises as possible.

The long and the short.

If you add up the costs of energy, staffing, time, and financial facets of planning, investing in a budgeting solution can be very valuable for your company. 

What vital features and functionalities should you be evaluating when searching for budgeting software to upgrade your planning processes?  Think about these: Excel versus proprietary interfaces, budgeting functionalities, integrating live from other data sources such as Pronto Xi or PLODtrack, versus querying information from a BI data store, the flexibility of positioning within a complete suite of BI tools, and the dawn of web based budgeting.

If your company has outgrown its budgeting and forecasting software we can help you find a solution that is the best fit for your needs. Contact us through the form below and we can help you gain deeper insights with a dynamic budgeting solution.  

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