If 2020 has taught us nothing else in business, it’s certainly highlighted that flexibility and agility are key to survival. Businesses have had to reorganise supply chains, refocus resources, and in many cases, facilitate a remote workforce. Added challenges include restricted access to capital. This kind of major overhaul requires planning and a deep oversight of business finances that enables fast but informed decisions to be made.
Having access to real-time information on all key operational functions can be a lifeline to businesses in all sectors, whether that be retail, warehousing and distribution or professional services – and businesses large and small. And while investing in technology or tools to aid in this may not seem like a top priority when business funds are tight, the solutions available deliver efficiencies and benefits in so many areas, one must appraise the commitment as an end-to-end, holistic business decision. From full subscription-based cloud services to ad hoc options that seamlessly integrate existing business planning tools, it’s never been easier for businesses to take full control of their operations and get a 360-degree view that will help weather the storm.
Adaptability and scalability can only be achieved with technology
From the smallest business to the largest, being agile and flexible is crucial, and this can only be facilitated by technology that allows a real-time insight into business performance. Many a business has thus far relied on spreadsheets and other disparate planning and forecasting tools – through the recent test and trace furore, everyone should now know that spreadsheets alone cannot be relied upon for every job in hand! Recording data in siloes can greatly hinder access to vital information on which business decisions can be made – whether that be capitalising on an opportunity at the right time or avoiding an issue through early identification.
Solutions such as NetSuite Planning and Budgeting (NSPB) allow users to plan and forecast in a very efficient way, saving time and effort, allowing businesses to focus on strategic actions. From expenses allocation and workforce planning to financial statement planning, the solution offers flexible and customisable deployment options for a completely collaborative and scalable solution. This is particularly important in the current climate, as reorganising resources according to a changing or remote workforce becomes more necessary.
A 360 degree view of all financials in one place
The F word is the most important in any business, and that’s ‘financials’ rather than something you might shout when spreadsheet forecasting just isn’t adding up! Having a live view of important financial data such as income statements, cash flow and balance sheets in one place when planning and budgeting provides a real advantage. Being able to access all planning aspects such as expense planning, head count and capital expenditure in either a detailed or overview format makes financial planning much more streamlined. Furthermore, NSPB smart view allows users to choose which application they can view data in – whether that be Microsoft Office apps or on an internet browser – and NSPB integrates seamlessly with Sage, Excel and other financial software, so the business does not need to be a NetSuite user. This is key for those who may be familiar with certain applications and reluctant to switch to a new system. They can slice and dice data and execute common planning actions in a way they are used to, but within an integrated environment of real-time information.
Predictive planning for accurate and enhanced forecasting
Over the last two years alone, 90 per cent of the world’s data was generated. It is all around us, being constantly gathered and data is key within any business. Real-time insights is a well-recognised phrase, and many are using the growing availability of data to make informed business decisions. However, the more advanced planning and forecasting functions now are geared towards being automated, predictive and machine learning led. Statistical modelling based on historical data can be invaluable in business forecasting. NSPB offers this – using industry standard statistical models in addition to historical business data, giving highly intuitive forecasting capability.
This data is not only invaluable for business decision making, but also when it comes to accessing capital. In a world where access to funding is becoming more restricted, being able to provide detailed reports on a range of financial performance and forecasts, in a variety of user-friendly web formats can be a great help in the quest for finance. Reporting and analytics around management, regulation and compliance is often required across many sectors, including financial and other professional services. NSPB’s capability in this area is strong, with a drag-and-drop report builder offering a time-saving solution.
There is no longer a need to rely on static spreadsheets or legacy applications, which can hinder business growth and profitability. Where flexible cloud-based solutions can be implemented and integrated into existing systems, businesses should make the leap to transform their business planning.
BrightBridge partnered with the NetSuite Planning and Budgeting team to offer a webinar, which included an in-depth demo of functionality. You can watch it on-demand here via our YouTube channel.