Date posted: 31/01/2024 5 min read

How to leverage data and technology for budgets and forecasts

A business planning and analytics platform helps finance use real-time data, for more accurate forecasts and better collaboration across business units. Brought to you by Phocas.

The role of finance is rapidly changing as a result of new technologies. Rather than budgeting and forecasting on an annual basis, teams with the right tools can work with real-time data to identify the cause of bottlenecks, the reasons for fluctuating sales and why some projects may be stalling.

The digitisation of the finance department turns it into a business partner within the organisation. However, many mid-sized businesses are failing to leverage new solutions.

Many teams continue to rely on spreadsheets for budgeting. While Excel can be useful on the back end, it simply can’t handle the volume of data that is needed for accurate business planning. It also doesn’t allow for collaboration among different teams.

“If you’re still using Excel, you’re never going to be able to digitise the CFO’s office,” says Philip Dodds, executive director of Phocas, a cloud SaaS company specialising in business planning and analytics. “Your core application has to be budgeting and forecasting, financial statements and business intelligence.”

Best practice in budgets and forecasts

When a business relies on an incomplete dataset or an out-of-date budget for business forecasts, it is virtually impossible for finance teams to be accurate. By contrast, a business planning and analytics platform can consolidate data and provide a real-time view. It can connect datasets, and continuously compare budgets and forecasts with actual data.

“It gives the CFO end-to-end visibility from the beginning of the period to the end of it,” says Dodds.

“When the data is fresh and comprehensive, your actuals are there, budgets are detailed and forecasts are more valuable to the whole business. You also get more buy-in across the business, rather than just the finance team.”

Fuzzy Events gets clarity

Australian events company Fuzzy has created dynamic, data-driven budgets on the Phocas business planning and analytics platform.

“As our business grew, budgeting became such a manual and tedious process,” says finance manager, Daniel Lyons. “There were 10 different versions of a budget and you couldn’t figure out which was the latest version, as people weren’t labelling them properly.”

Since adopting Phocas, Fuzzy has simplified the process, resulting in fewer errors. Lyons says one of the biggest benefits is, “You can see who’s changed what, and who has access to what. It makes the budgeting process a lot smoother.”

When Fuzzy was acquired by a UK-based company it needed to share reports with the UK team. The problem was that the overseas format was different from that of local management. Manually compiling the reports was extremely time consuming.

Working on a business planning and analytics platform was a game changer.

“Phocas saved me an enormous amount of time, as we could map our chart of accounts to the UK parent company’s chart of accounts – so now I can produce all my reports in their P&L and balance sheet. I no longer need to export my data and enter it manually in Excel – the complete process has been automated.”

Is your team ready for dynamic budgets?

To learn how Phocas’s business planning and analytics platform can transform your business, visit