Parson Consulting and XLerant have announced a new partnership to ease the stress, anxiety, and exasperation that is often associated with the budgeting and planning process.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” notes Joe DeMarco, Managing Director of Parson Consulting. “We do a lot of work in planning and budgeting, and from our standpoint this is the most important innovation in planning and budgeting since the spreadsheet.”
XLerant’s budgeting solution, originally designed for expense budgeting, uses a one-of-a-kind plain English interface to actively engage and assist managers in constructing their budgets. It’s called BudgetPak, and many executives have commented that it “looks more like Turbo-Tax than a spreadsheet, and it’s far easier to use.”
“We’re not trying to change the world,” notes Lawrence Serven, President of XLerant, “But we are out to change the way budgets are created, and who creates them.”
Serven notes that a recent survey of 150 companies shows that most do not allow line managers to create their own budgets, but instead have a finance intermediary do it on their behalf; and experience a 40 percent+ rate of errors and omissions in their budgets. “That’s not much of a surprise. There’s a lot of room for miscommunication and misunderstandings, which slows down the process and drives up costs and frustration levels,” notes Serven.
“It’s been a long established best practice,” observes DeMarco, “that the people who spend the money ought to budget their spending. But it’s rarely put into practice because managers don’t like budgeting, and they don’t like the tools they are given to budget their spending.”
The same survey indicates that in the 20 percent of companies that have cost center managers create their own budgets, the rate or errors and omissions actually drops down to 28 percent. “The real trick is giving people a tool that thinks more like a manager than an accountant, but gives accounting everything they need,” notes Charles Pevsner, XLerant’s CIO.
“We are pleased to be an early adopter of BudgetPak because we see the potential to help our non-financial managers get through the budgeting cycle easier, faster and with better results. We saw nothing else as easy and intuitive out there,” says William Feher, Controller of Norwalk based EMCOR, a $4 billion Fortune 500 company. EMCOR implemented BudgetPak for cost center budgeting, along with Hyperion Planning for enterprise-wide operational planning and reporting.
“The next generation of financial software applications, like BudgetPak, integrates business process workflow into the application itself,” notes Craig Schiff, CEO of the vendor independent consultancy BPM Partners, and a former senior executive with Hyperion and OutlookSoft. “This is important to gaining organization-wide acceptance and winning over non-financial users.”
“This is a natural fit for Parson Consulting,” DeMarco observes. “We are focused on two things; helping companies get the most out of their current technology and reducing transactional time and costs. We partnered with XLerant because we believe their technology and know how can help us achieve these goals for our clients.”
BudgetPak works either as a replacement for homegrown budget systems or as a snap-on to commercially available systems like SAP, Cognos and Hyperion to extend their value across the organization. BudgetPak enables business leaders to improve profitability by effectively directing financial planning and controlling financial performance, what XLerant calls “informed cost control.” Executives can more tightly define and control the budget process — achieving more accurate results in a shorter time, with true visibility into departmental budget details and assumptions.