Controlling as a business partner: how to advise at eye level

Would you like to finally advise your management at eye level and be a business partner instead of a data collector and Excel pusher? The current crisis has changed the demands on controlling: The result is overburdened departments and companies that cannot control precisely because they lack the necessary transparency. Those who digitize their processes and plan in the cloud have advantages. We show you how to become a business partner with cloud-based planning software and take controlling to the next level.

Trust is good, control is better

We all know how quickly prices can change. Regular cost control is your chance to know the financial state of your business and how you can increase company profits. You can also take countermeasures in good time if energy prices increase or a sudden supply stoppage becomes apparent. Fast developments require fast action. And for this, you always need an overview of all cost-relevant figures in the company. Not so easy in today’s world. To ensure that you have up-to-date data at hand for your cost planning, we recommend cloud-based planning software in which all cost centers are recorded centrally and automatically. In this way, you can evaluate expenses and cost causes in the company at lightning speed.

This includes, for example

  • Material costs
  • Production costs
  • Logistics costs
  • Maintenance costs
  • Personnel costs
  • Advertising and sales costs
  • Service costs (consulting costs, telecommunications, tax advice, rent, travel, etc.)
  • Financing costs

A target/actual comparison in the software allows you to see directly when expenses are exceeded and to what extent you can reduce them, for example, by adjusting production targets.

Plan faster and in shorter intervals

Unfortunately, we cannot prevent the world from turning faster today. But we can adapt our corporate planning to it. With software-supported planning, the collection and consolidation of data, which used to take weeks, is reduced to a few days. Controlling is thus in a position to carry out monthly instead of annual planning and to be able to compare actual and target values in the company even at short notice. This means that your figures from sales, personnel and production are always up to date. The result: you ensure a reliable database and bring transparency to the decisions that need to be made.

Automated data entry instead of time-consuming manual work

Do you also still plan with Excel sheets that wander back and forth between you and your colleagues and drive you to despair many a time? Especially when your data suddenly becomes inconsistent due to an unknown error and you have to play detective again.

In these moments, controllers feel miles away from the business partner. If routine tasks like collecting and merging data could be automated, you’d have much more time to devote to data analysis and consulting. To achieve this goal, more and more companies are working with cloud software. Planning in the cloud reduces your planning to a few days and prevents planning errors. Here, your colleagues can enter all the necessary planning figures in a central planning model without you having to send Excel spreadsheets back and forth. If the planning model has to be changed at short notice, that’s no problem: The consolidation of data from the isolated planning of all colleagues takes place automatically. It doesn’t matter whether you are aggregating data from bottom-up planning or top-down specifications. You store the dependencies between the key figures and other calculation logics centrally in the planning model and the calculations take place automatically.

View planning status at any time

Another tip on how to bring yourself into play as a business partner in controlling: Keep track of the current planning status so that you can provide information about your figures at any time and can also advise management at short notice. After all, transparency is the be-all and end-all when it comes to making reliable decisions.

If it were that simple, you might think, because unfortunately the reality of controlling is often quite different. Planning is done in lengthy planning cycles, and very often with Excel. Plan files are stored inaccessibly on the servers of colleagues and the planning status is communicated awkwardly via e-mail.

In the cloud software, on the other hand, it is easy to get an overview quickly. Since all planners work in a central planning model, you can see exactly which planning figures have already been entered by which colleagues and what is still missing. The system also sends automatic reminders when deadlines are not met. With the data already entered, you can perform calculations at any time.

Predictive Forecasting makes you a sovereign business partner

Cloud software is the tool of the modern controller who acts as a business partner. Not only can you view current figures and past developments, but you can also look ahead better. That’s because AI tools can be integrated into software-as-a-service, making predictive forecasting possible.

With Predictive Forecasting to the sovereign Business Partner

Cloud software is the tool of the modern controller who acts as a business partner. Not only can they view current figures and past developments, but they can also look ahead more effectively. That’s because AI tools can be integrated into software-as-a-service, making predictive forecasting possible.

Perhaps you have already worked with forecasting and noticed that key figures have changed and the many hours invested have dissolved into nothing in the end. Compared to classic forecasting, predictive forecasting, which is integrated in cloud-based planning software, offers you many different parameters (e.g. trends, cycles), also external data, as well as their fluctuations and integrates the key figures of all departments. An automatic analysis of all influences takes place, which is adjusted to your own values at any time. This provides you with comprehensive and reliable forecasts that you can use for all kinds of business decisions. We also call it “the future-oriented controlling”.

Collaborative planning instead of isolated planning

When you have all the figures - from sales, production, HR - you get a comprehensive picture of the company’s figures. And that is important for controlling all departments. It is not uncommon for companies to suddenly realize that a salary increase is not in the budget. A case like this can be prevented by integrating personnel cost planning into overall planning. With collaborative planning, colleagues from all departments save their figures centrally in a planning software. Everyone works only in the template assigned to them. The completed partial plans are finally merged automatically. This means that you always have an overview of the company’s overall budget.

But software-supported collaboration has another decisive advantage for controlling: You are perceived as a valuable business partner who knows the interrelationships in the company without having to chase after your colleagues or spend hours repairing data.

Tip: Software-supported planning saves personnel

Especially in times of a shortage of skilled workers, companies are asked to take a critical look at their processes. The question is not “how do I find new personnel?”, but rather: “how can we effectively use the potential that already exists? On the one hand, agile software solutions help to automate routine tasks in controlling and thus accelerate planning. On the other hand, with the support of an agile cloud, you gain a lot of time for the important tasks in controlling for which you currently have no capacity.

Digitizing your processes in the company also means positioning yourself attractively as an employer. If there is ever a need, planning in the cloud has a lot to offer: Efficient and cross-border collaboration as well as the popular form of remote working are just 2 examples of others we mention in this article.

How does cloud planning work?

Controlling as a business partner sounds good. But is it really that easy to implement planning software on the fly? Not to mention the different tools you already use and the employees who may have never worked in such software before.

We can put your mind at ease: Working with cloud-based planning software is neither tedious nor complex. You can also easily connect your own source systems.

We have developed a software-as-a-service that is precisely tailored to the needs of controlling. Our goal: to make controllers strong as business partners.

Find out which steps are necessary for planning in the cloud and how we tailor our planning models to your individual needs.

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Ralf Schall

Ralf Schall

Success Manager

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