K-12 Education

Five reasons you need to say goodbye to a budget planning spreadsheet

Patty Labadie

Nobody likes budgeting, but we all need to do it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a family planning for vacation or a child saving their allowance money for a special treat — all of us need to figure out our finances at some point. For some of us, we not only have to budget for ourselves, but for our work as well. Developing an annual budget for a K-12 school or district can be difficult. Funding challenges and unpredictable enrollments may induce stress, and tensions can run high. It is also filled with its own traditions and expectations, one of which is using a typical budget planning spreadsheet template. You’ve seen one before, you’ve probably used one before. Questica believes there is a better alternative to the standard template. Here’s why it’s time to ditch that spreadsheet for good.

 

1.    You’ll need to explain things, again and again

No matter who you’re budgeting for — senior administrators, fellow colleagues or stakeholders — the chances are high that they’re not an accountant. They don’t think like accountants do, and they’re not familiar with how to read the template. Having to explain it every year can be frustrating, and making sure that the template is constructed in a way that is easy to understand is cumbersome.

 

2.    A budget planning spreadsheet is needlessly complex

Look at this sample template here. Does this look like data that is easy to process, understand, and convey to others? If you were to present on this budget right now, would your audience need a translator handy? Does it strain the eyes too much to look at? Remember that the people you’re budgeting for are probably not accountants themselves. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all this information, imagine how they feel looking at it! There is no real reason we need to fit all that information on one page — other than that’s how it’s always been done.

 

3.    You need to copy and paste data

You’re going to need to make multiple projections. You’ll have to budget against the best and worst-case scenarios. Wouldn’t it be great to have software that could input the data and make new calculations for you? Unfortunately, you’re not getting that with a traditional budget spreadsheet. You’ll need to copy and paste, again and again and again. And you better hope that you don’t make any mistakes.

 

4.    Avoiding copy/paste is difficult

But wait, you’ve heard rumors of a better way, where you can connect to the data to make all those automatic adjustments, just like you always dreamed. True, you can, but you’ll need some outside help to do it with a traditional spreadsheet. You will likely need to include someone with special expertise, or possibly pay for an outside consultant. Alternatively, you could instead realize the truth with #5:

 

5.    There are better, easier options

There is simply better budgeting and forecasting software available than the regular budget spreadsheet templates. Questica has budgeting and performance software which makes multiple projections and calculations for you. It’s managed in the cloud, meaning it’s all there in one place for anyone who needs it to access. It’s user-friendly and not nearly as overwhelming.

 

So, if you’re contemplating your annual K-12 school budget with dread, consider switching to Questica Budget. Learn more by signing up for a free webinar or request a demo for yourself.

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