Neil Robertson Apr 29, 2019 2:05:00 PM 5 min read

Why take the plunge and ditch the budget spreadsheet?

Let me start this blog by saying, that as a marketing manager, I love a good spreadsheet; believe me, I do! Whether it's to help visualize hundreds of lines of data, or to help organize the planning of an event, spreadsheets are firmly ingrained in my day-to-day work. But there is one job involving spreadsheets that I cannot stand: budget spreadsheets.

Now I know many of my fellow budget holders will agree that using spreadsheets to manage their corporate budget is filled with issues…but we all do it. Even with the most complex of formulas set up to help do the maths for you, spreadsheets are extremely manual and time-consuming to populate. The data comes from various sources, such as supplier quotes, purchase invoices, receipts and bank statements, all of which you need to spend time collating and inputting yourself. And don’t get me started on file corruption and version control!

Yet despite all this, most of us are still using spreadsheets. My question to you, is why? What is the point? What value are you getting from a spreadsheet?

To answer this, I want us to go back to the reason we started using spreadsheets to track budget spending. As a corporate budget holder, we’re responsible for the management of an allotted pot of corporate budget. How we choose to spend that budget is down to us, provided it contributes to reaching our goals and KPIs. Once we start planning how the budget is used, it's important to start planning in committed or planned spend, to ensure we won’t burn through it too quickly. Then, we need to record the actual spend, so we know what cash has been spent.

So, spreadsheets seem like a good fit for budget management, right? Wrong.

As a budget holder, I believe we need to do more than just passively record what we want to spend and what we have spent. If we truly want to get the most out of our budgets to help the business grow, then we need to go further back from the point of spending. We need to go right to the start before a spending decision is made. At Compleat, we call this budget holder management

Budget holder management empowers budget holders like me to make smarter, more informed decisions on how to better utilize budget by enabling us to better financial managers. Now, I’m not suggesting you go on a course to learn about budget management! The good news is that budget holder management software exists to help you on your way.

Using a real-time budget and project financial management, budget holders can have all the relevant information to hand to ensure that every purchase is within budget. By simply capturing both current and future planned spend from your purchase orders and invoices, budget holder management software entirely removes the need for traditional spreadsheets. So now, you have a real-time view of both corporate and project-related spend as far into the future as your business plans.

Better still, everyone that needs to, now has a single real-time view of the financial truth on what has been committed and what is planned, enabling far more diligent and effective spend management – which should help to improve your relationship with the finance team!

So rather than spending endless hours diligently maintaining your budget spreadsheets, look to budget holder management to help you truly manage your budget in a smarter, more informed way.

Get in touch to find out how Compleat’s budget holder management software can help your business.


Neil Robertson

Neil has a 39-year track record of building successful direct and channel global software businesses predominately in the financial software market place. Neil Robertson is Executive Chairman of Compleat Software. A 39-year veteran of the financial software marketplace, Neil has a long track record of building disruptive start-ups into successful businesses, including his time as CEO EMEA of Great Plains where he built the business outside of the USA from 1995 - 2001. Compleat is no exception and perhaps the most disruptive of them all.
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