The annual budgeting process is fundamentally broken and requires months to complete. Line managers typically see little benefit in the budgeting effort. After a huge investment of time they still lack the information to support their decision process. When finance centralises the process, line managers typically refuse to buy in and the plan loses credibility. Worse,when the agonizing process is finally complete, the budget is already outdated. “Finance executives believe they spend too much time
on forecasting, budgeting, and planning. When asked about the most acute problems with their current planning process, more than 60 percent said it “takes too long.” Nearly 43 percent said “not enough time to analyze data,” and more than a third cited “lack of ownership by business units.” CFO Research Services The result is the same in either case—rather than being a useful decision-making tool; the budget is a disconnected document that has little impact on the company’s business.
Compounding these broken processes are the underlying budgeting technologies, which in many companies are simply spreadsheets and email.