For many organisations the current way of managing annual budgets or re-forecasting is to compile multiple Excel files that are emailed to the respective budget or line managers. Once distributed, unless the file is locked down, control of content is often lost.

The budget or line managers complete their individual entries into the budget and send them back. This is where the Excel hell really begins. New rows may have been added because the budget manager works from bottom-up. Consolidation of the individual spreadsheets must happen, and then the files have to be imported into the financial system.  Often the budget file format / layout is very different to the file import format, so more time is required. This is why the annual budgeting round can prove a nightmare for many businesses.

The New Way

Imagine that your desktop Windows login, which is usually controlled by a security feature on the Windows Server called Active Directory (AD), would control what you can read by way of reports and what you are able to write by way of budget forms, and, where all users are sharing a common single template. So rather than say 25 separate budget Excel files, we have one budget template shared by many, 25 in this case.

BI360 Planning module used for Budgets and Forecasts takes advantage of Windows AD, and additional security within BI360, that restricts visibility of data and the ability to write data to only the right combination of access to various dimensions.  Like Entity, Period, Budget Version, Branch, Cost Centre and Period for example.

BI360 assign a role to a Windows user

Assign a role to a Windows user

BI360 - restrict read and write dimensions

Restrict read and write access to specific dimensions

When using the BI360 template, the user can activate what is called the Planning Window.   This allows the user to see a single GL account, have comparable data like last year and use various calculation methods to derive the new budget numbers.   The user and also work in bottom-up mode by adding what is called Line Item Details (LID’s).

BI360 - bottom up budgeting

Bottom up budgeting

When set-up with the right roles, AD users and BI360 security, the budgeting process is greatly simplified for both distribution, collection and consolidation.  Many days can be taken out of the process, where often the most expensive resource in a business is deployed in the budgeting process.


Russell Weaver is a business consultant focused on helping customers succeed through the use of technology. Russell specialises in the areas of workforce productivity and business intelligence. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn or contact him at russellw@olympic.co.nz.