Almost nine out of 10 (88%) of public sector finance professionals admit they are reliant on spreadsheets for their budgeting processes, with 74% of these stating that they are “very” reliant, according to a survey by UK business management and information systems provider, Advanced Business Solutions (ABS).
Just 2% of respondents state that they “hardly ever” use spreadsheets, while the remaining 10% said that that they don’t use spreadsheets at all when formulating their organisation’s budgets and forecasts. ABS carried out the research with 100 senior finance professionals (finance directors and managers) across a range of UK public sector organisations.
In addition to using spreadsheets, ABS’ survey also suggests that finance professionals are spending disproportionate amounts of time on budget creation and analysis. Forty-two percent of the respondents concede that it currently takes their organisation over 45 working days to compile its annual budgets. Almost a third (30%) admit that it takes them between 20 and 45 working days, while 24% state that it takes them between 6 and 20 working days. Of the remaining respondents, just 4% state that it takes them less than a week (1 to 5 working days) to complete this process.
Dean Dickinson, managing director (public sector and enterprise) of ABS, said: “Following the government spending cuts it is imperative that public sector finance professionals have the means to gain greater insight into departmental budgets and streamline their budgeting, planning and forecasting processes. Although using Excel spreadsheets typically remains the preferred method for many large organisations, this method lacks any real data control, does not provide real-time financial information and is very cumbersome to manage.”
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