Can I use Power BI for Budgeting & Forecasting?

Power BI is a powerful interactive data visualisation and analytics tool that can draw data from a wide variety of sources including budgeting and forecasting data that can reside in an ERP system and/or Excel. In many cases, Excel is still the tool of choice for an organisation's planning and budgeting process especially if there is not a lot of complexity and minimal requirements in the model structure.

Where the level of complexity in a planning process increases, there are further considerations in choosing an appropriate tool especially where Excel is no longer a workable solution. This can include situations where multiple planners are involved and there are multi-level organisational inputs to be considered.

Power BI can function as an aggregation and modelling tool, to aggregate separate planning datasets (created in Excel or other systems) together with data actuals and create a consolidated planning report. There are still some downsides to this approach, especially uncovering errors when using Excel and implementing top down changes.

The most effective method for a complex planning process is to implement a single central data model solution that enables the user to easily read and write back to a data model totally customised to how the organisation operates. This enables a single approach to all aspects of planning whether it be sales forecasting, operational budgets, cashflow, or workforce and asset planning. Professional Advantage implement these type of corporate performance management tools that can be used either standalone or in conjunction with Power BI's reporting capabilities.