Our Approach to Collaborative Budgeting

Brian Camposano

Preparing an annual budget is often a time-consuming, iterative process that requires a significant level of manual orchestration by the Finance team.  From extracting each department’s model assumptions from Finance’s “master” model, to emails and in-person meetings to share “actuals” analysis and gather forecast assumptions, and ensuring each department’s new assumptions combine into a logical, consolidated budget, the process is cumbersome and one that would significantly benefit from an automated, software-enabled workflow.  

Previous budgeting and forecasting solutions have not addressed the issue of cross-functional collaboration.  To them, collaboration means enabling multiple well-trained users from the Finance team to access and edit the same version of the budget in a cloud-based application.  The idea of engaging non-Finance (or secondary) users directly in the application to proactively participate in a budgeting process has been non-existent.

Most CFOs desire to more directly engage P&L owners across their organization in the budget process.  However, the challenges of doing so are significant.  Legacy budgeting solutions use proprietary modeling frameworks and thus require significant end-user training to navigate and use the application.  Additional concerns relate to exposing users to highly sensitive information within the budget, and fear that a secondary user might make changes that impact the Finance team’s master model.

Budgeting is inherently cross-functional, and we believe all stakeholders must be engaged as proactive participants in a redefined workflow.  Current manual processes are impractical, inefficient and require the Finance team to play a largely administrative role, including tracking down assumptions and data entry.  

Given Finance’s increasingly pronounced role within organizations as a critical strategic partner, they deserve modern tools that enable integrated communication, cross-company collaboration, and automation.  The Stratify platform brings teams, processes, and data together to make better, faster business decisions.  Leveraging our proprietary structured data model and persona-based design, Stratify delivers collaborative budgeting alongside real-time analytics of financial and operational performance via an intuitive user interface.  Role-based access controls ensure data integrity and our “Tasks” engagement paradigm enables secondary users to proactively engage in a budgeting workflow without having to navigate overly complex financial models full of highly sensitive information.