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…less than one third of respondents in Financial Director magazine survey say their plans are accurate by the end of the year …

LONDON, UK – November 25th, 2002 – UK plc finance directors still feel there is room for improvement in their budgeting and strategic planning processes, according to a recent survey conducted by Financial Director magazine and Hyperion, a global leader in business performance management software. Barely a third of respondents say their plans are accurate by the end of the year and large organisations also thought there was too little accountability when plans weren’t achieved.

The survey of 275 UK financial directors and senior finance personnel from organisations with a turnover greater than £50m was conducted between July and September 2002. Key findings include:

- FDs aren’t confident their budgeting systems are best-in-class. They are a little more certain that they are good enough to keep them ahead of the competition.

- Between half and 70pc of respondents are comfortable that employees and managers understand and believe in the organisations objectives – but despite this, many believe there is too much “game playing” in negotiating budgets

- Barely a third of respondents say their plans are accurate by the end of the year. Even fewer say their plans are accurate on a shorter-term basis eg month-by-month

- The budgeting process is very much faster than it was four years ago, with 30 pc now completing the process inside 30 days, compared with just 9pc four years ago. Back then, less than half could complete the process in 60 days.

- Almost 80pc of organisations provide managers with printed budget/variance reports, while just over half issue spreadsheets. Fewer than one-in-five use web/intranet technology to disseminate such information.

The survey also showed distinctive differences between larger and smaller organisations. Large organisations were much more likely to strongly disagree with the suggestion that their budgeting systems were best-in-class. Smaller businesses had more confidence that their systems could help them keep ahead of the competition. Larger organisations also thought there was too little accountability when plans weren’t achieved.

Commenting on the survey results, Financial Director magazine editor Andrew Sawers says: “In some respects, it appears as though very little progress has been made since we conducted a similar survey four years ago with Hyperion. The survey sample broke down into two camps. One group was reasonably confident in its systems, extracting quite a lot of value from them, but recognised there was still more to be done. The other group was either neutral or more negative about what they had and what they were achieving. For them, budgeting and planning gets in the way of running the business and doesn’t enable the organisation to react to events as they unfold. The difference between larger and smaller organisations was quite marked. Clearly, the challenge for big business is to try to instil a small-company culture.”

According to Hyperion UK and Ireland Managing Director Mike Shelton: "It is good to see that the budgeting process in UK plcs is very much faster than it was four years ago. However, there is definitely a need for organisations to examine how technology, business process and culture can be co-ordinated to improve efficiency and deliver enhanced shareholder value. We are currently observing a growing requirement among our customers for software built on a unified platform. They are looking for strategic, operational and transactional integration. They are avoiding software with long implementation cycles in favour of groups of solutions that work together to address the needs of users across the enterprise that are implemented quickly and offer strong integration with and extract greater value from operational systems. This move may well help organisations to gain more benefit from strategic planning and budgeting.”

About Financial Director magazine

Financial Director is the pre-eminent magazine for UK financial directors in medium and large-sized organisations. Founded in 1984, it has a circulation of 20,000 per month and has been nominated for almost twenty major journalism and design awards in the last five years, including PPA Business Magazine Writer of the Year 2002 and British Society of Magazine Editors Business & Professional Magazine (non-weekly) Editor of the Year 2002.

About Hyperion

Hyperion, the global leader in business performance management software, creates solutions that help companies measure performance and drive profitability. Hyperion's Business Performance Management Suite of packaged and tailored applications and its open, integrating business performance management platform, Hyperion Essbase XTD, enable companies to set goals, model and plan performance, monitor and report key results, analyse underlying business drivers and anticipate future performance of core business activities. Hyperion products are used by more than 6,000 customers around the world to enable financial, organizational, customer relationship, supply chain and channel performance management. Hyperion has a network of over 330 partners to provide innovative and specialized business performance management solutions and services.

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Hyperion generated annual revenues of $492 million in fiscal 2002. The company employs more than 2,200 people in 20 countries and is represented in 16 additional countries through distributor relationships. Hyperion is traded under the Nasdaq symbol HYSL. For more information, please visit, e-mail or call 01784 228015.

Hyperion, the Hyperion “H” logo and Essbase are registered trademarks and Hyperion Solutions is a trademark of Hyperion Solutions Corporation. All other trademarks and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Andrew Smith

Object Marketing

Tel: (020) 8762 9292


Andrew Sawers

Financial Director magazine

Tel: (020) 7316 9032


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