If you’ve ever looked up from your desk and thought that the office seemed to have more consultants in it than staff on the payroll then there’s probably a logical answer. The answer usually comes in two parts, firstly you’re not dreaming and secondly there’s obviously a major IT project going on.
This scenario has been played out in countless small and medium sized businesses and is often the result of business growth. This growth will have accelerated the need to ditch the unreliable spreadsheet based budgeting system that could just about cope when the business started but is struggling to keep up with the vertical numbers and the multi-location enterprise it has now become.
Step forward the gang of consultants and their game changing budgeting software. The paradox here is that if you’d had game changing budgeting software at the outset it would have told you that you probably couldn’t afford them.
CloudBudget aims to remove both the need to install software and pay consultancy fees in one hit and if it’s as good as it looks at first sight will no doubt succeed.
Based on the Force.com platform the application gives management all the tools needed to generate accurate budgets based on the answers given in an extensive online survey called Cloud Consultant (OK so you need one consultant!). This is no brief business outline though and will take some time to complete so preparation is key. Having said that, it doesn’t charge an hourly rate to collate the information.
Minutes after the survey is completed you’ll have a customized budgeting system that not only reflects the basic numbers you entered but takes your industry type, organizational structure and business goals into account.
The neat trick here is that by knowing your industry the survey can tailor specific questions relevant to your operation rather than just general ones. For instance a manpower business would have entirely different working practises to those of a construction company and by creating this knowledge base the resulting budgets have even greater accuracy.
The budget brings all of the financials together and links the P&L, cashflow and balance sheet to produce the numbers. The specific knowledge base kicks in too especially in respect of forecasting. By knowing the industry the budget will take typical payment schedules and expected delays into account when dealing with forecasted customer payments.
CloudBudget looks really useful for all SMB’s and particularly those with subsidiaries and multi-location operations where pulling a number of different budgets together can be a nightmare. The system can tailor a process that takes the desired structure of top management and cascades it down the line for the separate departments to complete. Once done the budgets are consolidated, validated for errors and processed to final approval.
The costs for CloudBudget are taken by way of monthly subscriptions based on the number of licences and level of functionality required. Weighing it up against the hourly rate of a gang of consultants though, not to mention the amount of free coffee they drink, could be the best piece of budget analysis you’ll do.
This is an exciting looking site that brings a high level of budgeting capability within reach of all types and sizes of business. With an offer of 5 free licences for 6 months beyond the initial free trial period too it has to be worth a look.