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Making the Budget Process Effective

For many of us in the Finance world, “budget season” is a meaningless measurement of time because we always seem to be in the middle of working on The Budget. Whether we’re looking at capital requirements for the next one, three, five, or even ten years out, planning head counts, or building pro formas, finance professionals spend a considerable amount of time planning for the future. Unfortunately, our prognostications rarely hold true. As actor-director-writer extraordinaire Woody Allen once said “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” With all the time spent on planning and sharpening the pencil just to miss the mark, why do we even bother with budgeting?  As always, the reality is clouded in shades of grey. No business can truly operate for long without some semblance of a plan. Try taking your latest app idea to the angels of Silicon Valley promising your potential investors that they’ll get their money back “eventually”. Ultimately, we’re forced to admit that plan…
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Game of Data - A Story of Muffins and Metrics

I’ll begin this post with a confession: I don’t have the best dietary habits (though I swear I’m working on it). My office has a self-service cantina stocked with a variety of foods including candy bars, soft drinks, frozen meals, and, stored in a round wicker basket, the most addictive muffins on the planet. Many mornings, despite my best efforts, I cannot fight the urge to grab my $1.80 muffin from downstairs before plowing into the depths of spreadsheets and ad hoc reports. It’s an addiction, but at least it’s not crack… right? Addictions and self-control aside, nothing frustrates me more than when that little wicker basket is empty when I’ve already committed to quenching my muffin madness. What’s even more frustrating is when I see the vendor’s truck parked outside the loading dock and the rep inside the cantina early in the morning only for the muffin basket to be empty… again. I should take that as sign that it’s time for me to squash my sweet tooth once and for all, but I can…