Budgeting survey discloses causes of CFO headaches

Centage Corporation and The Institute of Management & Administration (IOMA) conducted a Budgeting Survey to examine difficulties faced by CFOs related to budgeting, planning, forecasting and reporting.

C-level finance executives at companies representing more than 20 industries, with annual revenues ranging from less than $10 million to more than $500 million, took part in the survey. Key budgeting issues including forecasting, variances and how meeting goals affects compensation was covered in this survey. The survey also focused on exploring methods that CFOs could use to benchmark their budgeting process, tools and attitudes.

The most significant observation was that many of the concerns, processes and procedures are consistent, regardless of company size. Where differences based on company size were found, the results were insightful. The following were some of the key findings of the Budgeting Survey 2010:
 

  • The biggest pain point faced was dealing with other manages within the company.
  • The second biggest hurdle was working with spreadsheets and other technology-driven tools.
  • 75% of SMB/SME companies budgeted with spreadsheets alone or in combination with a GL/ERP system.
  • On average, an annual budgeting cycle took 4-8 weeks.
  • Most firms built-in an acceptable variance level of plus or minus 5-10%.
  • 82% of the larger companies linked compensation and goal-achievement with 57% linking 20% of the total compensation to meeting operational goals.
  • 85% of the executives at firms with annual revenue of $10 million and above view budgets as a cash flow management tool. This figure rises to 93% for companies smaller than $10 million.
  • The most common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were Net Income/Loss, Gross Profit, Operating Expenses as a Percentage of Sales, and EBIT.
     

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