At YASC ’15, Bob Horn, Founding Partner of 33Floors, and Geoffrey Gelb, President of Gelbgroup Consulting, presented extensive information on the topic of Advanced Budgeting & Forecasting (ABF). As we head to YASC ’16, we thought it important to check in with Bob and Geoffrey and revisit the importance of ABF and its careful implementation.
You spoke about ABF at YASC ’15. What were the most important points of that session?
A key point we attempted to emphasize is the flexibility Voyager Advanced Budgeting & Forecasting affords a client. The system itself allows for a range of implementations from very basic to extremely complex, thereby requiring a great deal of care in its design to ensure delivery exceeds expectations and requirements.
A secondary point of emphasis for clients is to understand and build to your environment. A centralized budget process controlled by a few can be complex without being burdensome, but a de-centralized process with many users should be simplified and documented to a high degree to ensure consistent application across a portfolio.
What are your key recommendations in implementing Advanced Budgeting & Forecasting, and how have your experiences over that last year informed those recommendations?
Know your audience, know your requirements and know your environment. Then, take the time to design a system equally focused on those three elements. Keep it as simple as possible and try to remember this is an estimation process and each incremental level of accuracy comes at a cost. Design the best system you can and remain flexible during implementation as you will always discover a new facet during roll-out, incorporate what makes sense and update your documentation accordingly.
Experience has taught me that everyone has input that can benefit a project. Keep asking for questions and feedback throughout the process, eventually everyone speaks up and it is that feedback that generally pushes a project from “meets” to “exceeds” expectations.
How important is training in implementing ABF?
Training is tantamount to the success of any Voyager project and Advanced Budgeting & Forecasting is certainly no exception. Clear documentation supporting process and software usage allows for repeatable and supportable application usage which in-turn allows for consistent and accurate budgets and forecasts.
Can you share an example of specific time/cost savings for an organization implementing Advanced Budgeting & Forecasting?
One clear time-consuming portion of any operating/financial process is the production of the report package. Picking the right report from the menu, filling out filters, running reports, printing, compiling, cutting, pasting and assembly takes an inordinate amount of time not to mention updating same when small changes are made. We try to emphasize the creation of a report package to be run upon completion or anytime a change is made. This alone saves hours per property per month or quarter or year (depending on your level of forecasting).
Be sure to check in with Bob and Geoffrey at YASC ’16.