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"Budget is not to be considered Strategic Planning, Forecast is"
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Budget is not Strategic Planning, Forecast is

Budget, planning and forecast are terms too often used to define activities within the same focus area.
Today’s Enterprise (or sometimes called Corporate) Performance management is moving to a different definition: it takes those three activities splitting them into two main areas: Budgeting Vs Strategic Planning.
 
In the enterprise performance management world, budget processes set short term targets for revenue, expenditures and cash generation. Usually a one year horizon is applied.
Because it typically uses financial classifications, normally derived from the company general ledger, as a process, budget, will be usually owned and controlled by the CFO and the finance function.  As such it’s a static mechanism and it acts simply as a fixed control.
 
Forecasting and (strategic) planning consist instead of a financial modeling engine which has an integrated P&L, balance sheet and cash flow capability. This is the key feature that distinguishes enterprise performance management in general from any other analytical application (sales or operational planning): the possibility of modeling, simulating, what-if, linked directly to finance reporting mechanisms.
On top of that, there are other important identifiers such as features like review and approval, audit trail and workflow.
 
From the practical point of view, planning and forecasting differ from budget in two main aspects. First, the period of time can be much longer and second, the focus is less on the single line item but more on the drivers that impact that line item. It forces an interpretation of the cause and effect relationships that rule one’s business.
Having too many variables to consider at once can be difficult to handle on spreadsheet-like tools. We recommend to have those processes supported by strong and solid tools that will help enhance the transparency and foster the necessary communication around those processes.
 
Introducing enterprise performance management software suites in an organization is an instant competitive advantage. It allows repeating the planning and forecast, as well as budget, activities as many times as necessary within a reporting cycle and have all features to track and audit them at any moment. Their ultimate goal is simply to enhance the managerial capabilities of steering and transforming one's business.
 
Top Dimension is a recognized and specialized EPM firm. From the start we invested to become partner of the market leading software vendors and experts of the best breed EPM suites.
 
In several occasion we have helped our customers planning processes by implementing one of the best EPM suites ever: the Oracle EPM stack. Customers also approached us for related services that Top Dimension Architects proudly offers to complement its, or others', implementations. 
 
Read about our complete offer here.
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