To BI or Not to BI: Business Intelligence Role in Budgeting

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Budgeting has a long tradition within management control but has faced criticism for being too expensive, time-consuming and irrelevant due to the inflexible nature of traditional fixed budgeting. In an increasingly volatile business environment, organizations need to move beyond the historical view inaugurated by the traditional budget and towards a more dynamically conducted budget that adapts to the environment. The proposed solution to the budget issue has been alternative budgeting methods such as beyond budgeting, rolling forecasts and zero-based budgeting, which are argued to excel with the utilities offered through emerging technology such as business intelligence, which has been on top of organizations agenda in over a decade. The purpose of this thesis is to increase the awareness of how business intelligence can improve the budgetary process to become more adaptive to the environment. This thesis takes a qualitative approach where six respondents were interviewed to form three groups; BI Experts, BI Prospects and BI Users, to elicit different perspectives of BI utility on the budgetary process. These perspectives were analyzed against the proposed purpose of budgeting to provide good targets, efficient resource allocation and reliable forecasts. The result of this thesis show that business intelligence can improve the budgeting process by providing more reliable forecasts through increased data accessibility and more reliant data, as well as ease of reporting. The budget process becomes less costly and time consuming in terms of data errors and reporting activities. An additional finding for this thesis is that there is a visionary discrepancy between the three defined groups.

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