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The Annual Budgeting Process: Insanity is Expecting Different Results from Spreadsheets

Published By Kerry Raminiak

Albert Einstein has been credited in saying, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you are charged with some element of the annual budgeting process for your organization, such as capital planning, strategic planning, budgeting, and annual allocations, among others; chances are you’ve been inundated with spreadsheets, tab delimited fields, and pivot tables every January since… forever.

Has Your Expectation of Spreadsheets Changed Over the Years?

According to recent findings, your answer is probably “no.” According to the 2012 Benchmark Study: The State of Capital Planning:

49% of companies surveyed indicated that the manual nature of planning and spreadsheet complexity is the top planning pain point.

The predominance of spreadsheet planning and forecasting is at the heart of many challenges long range planning professionals face every year. Coined as a “common pitfall” by Madison Laird in his white paper, 15 Common Pitfalls of Long-Range Planning, the connection between spreadsheets and the lack of productivity and flexibility is supported by many studies and the annual exercise you are likely participating in right now.

Stop the Insanity!

In this short video series, Madison delves deeper into the issues and solutions to the most common pitfalls, including spreadsheet planning.

Some of the solutions he describes tackle spreadsheet planning philosophically and are relatively simple; such as rewarding vision and consensus. Some of the solutions outlined dig deeper into the core of your organization’s analytical culture.

As you make progress and conclude your annual planning; now is the best time to consider best-practices of organizations that have eased the intensity and challenges of juggling spreadsheets. Ensuring your next planning cycle is improved upon will not only improve your processes and decision making capabilities: it will also improve your sanity.

What is your biggest headache during the annual budgeting process?

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Written by Kerry Raminiak

Kerry Doyle Raminiak writes and manages the development of thought leadership materials within the purview of project-based business operations and corporate financial long-range planning. Before joining Planview, Kerry owned and operated a marketing communications firm that specialized in developing messaging for software, web-based applications, and other technology niches. Kerry has a BS in Communications from Towson University Maryland, and an MA from Pepperdine University.