The 6 reasons top-performing CEOs use rolling forecasts

Thought Leadership on Business Intelligence presented by 9DOTS Management Corp, LLC

The business environment is volatile and always changing — sometimes in ways that test your patience and make you question yourself as the leader of a top-performing organization. All CEOs face challenges like these, and you want to be the kind of CEO who leads the team to the end with excitement of competition, instead of fear of it. Annual budgeting and planning could lead you through that fight, but there is even more you can do to become competitive with the top organizations.

With rolling forecasts, the age of traditional budgeting and questioning strategic decisions is gone. A rolling forecast looks ahead for you, acts as your guiding light, and foresees the risks and opportunities that stand before you.

Six reasons CEOs should choose rolling forecasts

1. They enable a consistent, accurate, forward-looking financial outlook. In today’s volatile world, the CEO is always struggling for answers to the “variance.” In fact, most organizations have a monthly letter dedicated to it, known as “Management’s Discussion and Analysis.” This monthly writeup is dedicated to the explanation of variances among accounts. The variance cuts a huge swath in the financial outlook because the budgeted data may not have been accurate based upon last year’s history or change. This sends the finance and accounting team spiraling and provides information to the CEO that is at best a month old. The CEO answers to banks, investors and a multitude of others who are looking for accurate forward-looking statements. Rolling forecasts provide the ability to do this. Along with the dynamic ability of the monthly forecast, there is the ability to minimize true variances to the ones that truly matter for research and understanding. This provides you with sound financial judgement for the coming months.

2. They have the ability to model and execute correction throughout the year. “Make a budget at the beginning of the year and stick to it.” That’s what we’ve been told for as long as we can remember, as a way to keep our finances on track, right? But you didn’t think you were going to get in that car accident, or buy that new puppy, and now your yearly budget is a complete mess. Your competition and top organizations run in the same way. In today’s volatile world, budgeted data is often considered dead on arrival. No sooner have you finalized your budget than some opportunity or change to your business has occurred, rendering the budget practically useless. Rolling forecasts give CEOs an opportunity to restate positions and remain consistent, thus eliminating spikes and confusion from everyday business. Adjusting for change allows the CEO to now re-forecast real information in near-real time.

3. They can help you seize market opportunities as they arise. Reforecasting gives us better insight into our daily, weekly and monthly change. Therefore, as CEOs continue to evaluate changes in revenue due to market conditions, they have an opportunity to seize market opportunities by making changes office by office or product by product. All of this power is now visible through the changing market for products and services daily. Insightful and actionable information is now at the forefront of the organization. This is how top CEOs stay ahead of the ever -hanging environment and their competitors.

4. They use a cadence that aligns with the business, not the accounting calendar. Simply put, budgets are slaves to the accounting calendar. Every year, the new budget is completed in the fourth quarter to set the benchmark for the entire following year. This budget is then looked to month by month as the beacon for successful results. However, as we have discussed in the points above, this information could be stale and useless. By using continuously rolling forecasts, CEOs develop a rhythm for the business; an ability to see change as it occurs. This rhythm aligns with the changing environments in your business and is disconnected from referring to the accounting calendar as a 12-month worry.

5. They give insight into what is really happening, as opposed to just your desired outcome. Sometimes we need blunt honesty to succeed or overcome any hurdles. Your business and position as a CEO is the same. There are many choices you want to make, but rolling forecasts make sure your decisions are strategic and show you the impact that they could make in real time.

6. They provide transparency across the enterprise. Seventy-two percent of highly engaged employees understand their importance or role and how it contributes to organizational success, leading to stronger morale, stronger overall organization, and a stronger leader and CEO.

Be a leader, stay competitive, and join the top-performing CEOs by using rolling forecasts to outperform the rest.

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