Budgeting Software Packages

Computers have transformed the world and simplified the work for the people. The financial industry has become one small world due to the use of computers. Moreover, the accountants are able to store, access and manage large volumes of data and efficiently implement financial transactions using computers. In addition, such a technological advancement enhanced communication in organizations, improved data management, and enabled access to vast financial information through the Internet. Computerized accounting allows managing payment processing, expenses, budgeting, and reporting. It combines the key aspects of accounting and budgeting into one database with a user interface (Integrity 1). Over the years, the companies have developed software to help organizations implement accounting, especially in budgeting. Moreover, 4CastPro, Sage 50 Forecasting, IBM Cognos TM1, Prophix, and Collaborative Planning are some of the software packages used for the given operations. Computers have greatly improved accounting through software packages that help in budgeting and its management as described in this paper.

Budgeting process has always been a cumbersome task for the companies. However, computers have simplified the budgeting process. The companies can use different programs, such as spreadsheets, to describe the budget relationship. Consequently, when an item is changed in the budget, the computer automatically recalculates the necessary amounts (Jiambalvo 371). Therefore, automatic recalculation saves the time. Moreover, computers have the “What if” analysis in spreadsheets that allow companies to calculate the values they would have at any point of the financial year (Jiambalvo 371). For example, if a company requires information about their cash balance after particular sales, they can run the “What if “analysis and get the figure. Therefore, computers have made the budget planning process simpler and quicker for many organizations and businesses.

It is worth noting that Richard Walliker was the developer of 4CastProsoftware for forecasting and budgeting. It is provided by 4CastSolutions Company at the price of £1,590 for a single user (Teller 22). This program has a six-digit cost center coding that enables the user to envisage the budgets for the different levels in a company, namely departmental and general budgets. Cost centers can obtain data from different sources, which ensures flexibility. In addition, 4CastPro provides management of data on sales, staff, and expenditure. In complex budgeting, it allows implementing offline calculations using templates from Excel add-ins, which can automatically update changes to the main budget (Teller 23). Moreover, 4CastPro generates reports and has two reporting packs, such as Management Accounts and Plan Back. Management Accounts includes statutory report format whereas as Plan back includes 12 months profit and loss reporting and balance sheets. 4CastPro provides for a Word template that can be used to prepare business plans to support financial data (Teller 23). The target market for 4CastPro is Small and Medium Enterprises with a turnover of up to £50m (Teller 22). 4Cast Solutions Limited has engaged in business since 2003 and has provided reliable software, such as 4CastPro and 4CastPro Light (Companies 1). The benefits of using 4CastPro are that one can store data within the periods of five years; the budgets can also be flexed by use of “What if” analysis and a detailed budget can be quickly made using the 5year plan tool (Teller 23). Therefore, 4CastPro is useful for the companies with complex budgets that require data to be obtained from different systems.

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Prophix accounting software is provided by Prophix Company. The charges of Prophix are determined by the number of its users, if the companies use it for preparing reports, managing large sets of historical data as well as for budgeting and forecasting. It also allows importing data from several systems, including the ones that are non-financial, such as human resources and procurement (Teller 26). Prophix is ideal for small and medium-size enterprises. Prophix Company has started its operations since 2000 and their software has involved over 40,000 users (Teller 26). The benefits of Prophix are that it allows connecting financial and non-financial data as well as provides easier generation of yearly forecasts of around 60 months (Teller 27). Prophix generates reports in either Excel or PDF and allows sharing the reports over the intranet. Additionally, the report binder component in Prophix enables the users to combine external documents with Prophix reports (Teller 27). Therefore, it simplifies budgeting and financial reporting for many organizations and businesses.

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The Advanced Computer Software Group is the company that provides Collaborative Planning software. Its respective cost depends on the application (Teller 20). This software is used for budgeting, forecasting, and fast forwarding. Moreover, it provides possibility for the users to budget at different levels in the organization because data is stored in one database (Teller 21). Collaborative Planning is ideal for both large governmental and non-governmental organizations (Teller 20). The Advanced Computer Software Group has been operative since 2010 and has helped many large organizations to easily manage budgeting and forecasting (Teller 21). The benefits of this software are controlled access as well as faster and efficient budgeting. Collaborative Planning is therefore ideal for large companies with sensitive data.

IBM Cognos TM1 accounting software is provided by IBM Company. The cost of the software is determined upon the request (Teller 24). IBM Cognos TM1 is used in budgeting, risk analysis, merchandise planning, sales analysis, mergers, and acquisitions (Teller 25). The target market for this software is medium-sized and large organizations that have wide historical data (Teller 24). IBM Company has been functioning since 1911 and has over the years provided reliable and efficient technological solutions to many companies (Reuters 1). The benefits of using IBM Cognos TM1 is that it facilitates fast and efficient analysis of large historical data having comprehensive tools that allow planning, reporting, forecasting, and budgeting (Teller 25). IBM Cognos TM1 guarantees correct and quick analysis of company’s large historical data.

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Sage 50 Forecasting accounting software is provided by the Sage Group. Sage 50 Forecasting is available at the price of £593.00 (Teller 28). Moreover, it is used for budgeting, monitoring and predicting cash flow, creating forecasts, generating reports and exploring different scenarios by use of the ‘What if’ analysis (Teller 29). The software is ideal for small and medium-sized enterprises. Sage Group has started their operation since 1988 and provided companies with reliable accounting software, such as Sage 50, Sage X3, and Sage One (Companies 1). The benefits of using Sage 50 forecasting are that one can easily project cash flow and generate balance sheets (Teller 29). Additionally, it allows the users to copy original budgets over revised budgets, which significantly simplifies the revision. Moreover, the organizations admit that Sage 50 Forecasting has made budgeting and forecasting easier.

In conclusion, due to the use of computers, accounting and business transactions are easier and simplified tasks for many organizations. They help in the budgeting process by allowing companies to easily edit budgets and to explore possible scenarios in the budget through the ‘What if’ analysis. Moreover, 4CastPro, Sage 50 Forecasting, IBM Cognos TM1, Prophix, and Collaborative Planning are some of the budgeting software packages. However, 4CastPro is used for multi-level budgeting and is provided by 4CastSolutions Company. Prophix is created by the Prophix Company and is used for budgeting and forecasting. Collaborative Planning software for budgeting and forecasting is offered by the Advanced Computer Software Group. IBM Cognos TM1 is provided by the IBM Company and is used for budgeting, risk analysis, and sales analysis. Sage 50 Forecasting is created by the Sage Group and is used for budgeting, predicting cash flow, and forecasting. Budgeting software packages have some similarities and differences; therefore, the companies should choose the one, which is favorable for them.

 

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