SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

May 06, 2008 12:56 ET

Ninety-One Percent (91%) of Best-in-Class Have a Formal Budget or Planning Process -- Do You?

Best-in-Class Achieved 101% Overall Budget Accuracy (Ratio of Actuals to Budget)

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - Today's business climate is characterized by change and compounded by global influences spawning distributed environments and squeezed margins. A well-prepared budget forms the foundation for decision-making throughout the fiscal year. The latest benchmark report, "Financial Planning and Budgeting," announced by Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), found 43% of all companies never adjust budgets during the fiscal year and adjustments are extremely rare in another 20%; the accuracy of the budget is of paramount importance. Aberdeen's research further found:

--  73% of Best-in-Class companies take a combination of a top-down and
    bottom-up approach to planning and budgeting
--  Best-in-Class companies are 102% more likely to utilize budgeting and
    forecasting applications and 102% more likely to employ workflow automation
    to guide employees through the budget process
--  Best-in-Class companies are more than twice as likely to support
    budgeting/planning processes through the use of budgeting and forecasting
    applications rather than relying primarily on spreadsheets
    

"Forecasting has become the mode by which companies report their expected performance based on recent actual performance combined with knowledge about the future, such as revenue backlog movement and sales pipeline integrity. The accuracy of forecasts is becoming more important as top management, board members and investors demand more predictability," says Cindy Jutras, VP and Group Director, Aberdeen. "Best-in-Class companies are far more likely to have ad-hoc 'trial close' capability (the ability to produce an income statement, cash flow report, and balance sheet in a 'if our fiscal period were to close today' scenario). This allows a more immediate and accurate picture of actual business performance, and therefore an improved ability to use that information to produce more frequent and accurate forecast reports," adds David Hatch, Research Director and co-author of the report.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part to the following underwriters: Infor, Prophix, and Satori. To obtain a complimentary copy, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4722.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

© 2008 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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