Non-Profit

Shorten financial planning and forecast cycles to be more responsive

Brian Walker

Every organization needs a plan and not just one that involves providing help to the maximum amount of people or groups, but doing so in a financially responsible way. Financial planning and forecasting should be central to your organization’s plan, both long and short term. If you’re still using conventional spreadsheet budgeting, it’s time to think outside the box and consider budgeting software that will help you automate your financial planning and forecasting. Automation not only saves you time, but it also reduces human error and allows you to change courses quickly. The best financial planning and forecasting demands the best tools.

What is financial planning and forecast?

Using a set of techniques, financial planning and forecasting helps a non-profit determine what additional financing they’ll need in the future. Some of the methods used in determining these figures are assumptions, expectations, scenarios, as well as other mathematical analytic tools. As you can imagine the calculations involved in financial planning and forecasting are quite in-depth, and can also change at a moment’s notice if things in the organization go better or, unfortunately, worse than expected. This results in resetting your plans to figure out how to move forward.

Do I need a financial planner?

Financial planners are experts in this business of budgeting and forecasting, but much of their job description, especially when it comes to the finances of non-profits, are being made obsolete by budgeting software. When you use a software that aggregates data company-wide across all financial streams, and automatically updating all related fields, your financial planning and forecasting gains a level of automation that makes the entire machine run smoother. There’s no doubt that consulting an expert is incredibly helpful, but don’t overlook the power of a universal software that can be used to do everything from forecasting and scenario planning, to budget rollups and individual project requests as well.

Planning for scenarios in financial planning and forecast

The goal of scenario planning is not to try and predict the future, but rather to describe the possibilities. Used for situations in which sudden or rapid changes may occur, the scenario planning process is crucial to your financial planning and forecasting, and will allow you to be flexible with any changes that come down the pipeline. Whether those changes are financial hardships or staggering success, you need to have an action plan for both. The scenario planning process will not only help you respond to big and sometimes unpredictable changes, but they will also help you to realize that the sands are shifting before the earthquake really happens. Budgeting software can be a powerful tool in the scenario planning process as it aggregates all your data allowing you to make quick and easy maps of your financial histories and other key figures that will help the process of financial planning and forecasting.

 

Don’t let your antiquated budgeting methods hold you back from your non-profit’s bright future. When you’re ready to make the investment in budgeting software, check out Questica’s non-profit budgeting solution to see how we can help you make your financial plans a reality, or request a demo today.

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