Updated: September 22, 2023 |

4 proven tactics to survive budget season for finance leaders (video included!)


Christina Ross
Christina Ross

Cube's founder and CEO, Christina Ross is a 3x CFO and former finance transformation leader. As a well-recognized expert in all things FP&A, she is passionately mission-driven to help finance leaders become the heroes of every org. She currently resides in NYC.

4 proven tactics to survive budget season for finance leaders (video included!)

Christina Ross (CEO of Cube) teamed up with Chris Ortega (CEO of Fresh FP&A) for an info-packed webinar to discuss proven tactics for surviving budget season.

Check out highlights from the webinar below. 

Christina Ross

Christina Ross

CEO & Co-Founder, Cube Software

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As a former 3x CFO, I've survived my fair share of budget seasons—and so has my colleague, Chris Ortega (fractional CFO and CEO of Fresh FP&A).

From budget season horror stories to tales of success, Chris and I discussed it all in our recent webinar, Surviving Budget Season: 4 Proven Tactics for Finance Leaders. We spilled our tricks of the trade and offered our best advice to ensure your upcoming budget season is productive, collaborative, and on target.

If you couldn't make it live, check out some of the highlights below for quick tips to help you prep for this crucial time of year.

6 tips for creating a financial planning calendar 

Before you can work the plan, you've got to plan the work. In my experience, there's no better way to do this than by creating a comprehensive financial planning calendar.

To create an effective calendar, be sure to:

  1. Assess and align. Identify stakeholders, define financial goals, and determine key metrics.
  2. Design and structure. Align your monthly timeline, outline key financial activities, and build a template you can repurpose (like this one).
  3. Develop. Tailor sections (budgeting, forecasting, etc.) to company needs, promote collaboration, facilitate reviews, integrate quarterly and year-end summaries, etc.
  4. Review and approve. Review calendar with teams, gather higher management and stakeholder input, and refine for finalization.
  5. Integrate and train. Link calendar to financial systems if required and offer training to users.
  6. Monitor and update. Continuously track calendar against evolving financial landscape; adjust for insights, risks, and environment shifts.

How to effectively present the plan to financial and non-financial stakeholders

When presenting a financial plan, it's crucial to consider your audience. For top-level executives and the C-suite, they often prefer a high-level overview; they want the key takeaways without getting bogged down by details like accruals and variances. 

On the other hand, for those delving deeper into finances, a more detailed framework can be helpful. This can involve breakdowns by department, key drivers, or different scenarios.

This is where technology can be a game-changer. With FP&A software, you can streamline communication and simplify the tracking and reporting processes during budgeting. With the right tech, both granular views (like the ones on the left) and comprehensive snapshots (like the one on the right) can be efficiently presented, catering to diverse audience needs.

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.43.29 PM

How to accelerate the planning process

The right software can make the planning process faster and more efficient. The main thing? Focus on solving real pain points, like consolidating and unifying data. Many finance leaders say that's their biggest challenge. But it's not just about data; it's also about collaborating effectively and scaling up as the business grows.

Here's a glimpse into how software and consultation can truly accelerate (and improve) the planning process:


  1. Data consolidation and automation: Automatically gather, reconcile, and clean data so you can trust your numbers.
  2. Collaboration: Don’t get caught in a version control black hole. Easily share and work on plans with your team.
  3. Expertise and trust: Work with proven experts who have seen what good looks like (at every stage of a business).
  4. Scalability and growth: Tech and consultation will help your finance org keep pace with the growth of your business.

4 things not to do when rolling out a budget

When rolling out a budget, you'll inevitably hit some bumps in the road. But there are four things you can consciously avoid doing to make the process smoother:

  1. Don’t forget the budget in your decision-making process (and remember to account for holidays).
  2. Don’t set it and forget it. Make budgeting a continuous conversation throughout your business. 
  3. Don’t forget to define “done.” Determine what done looks like, and what the endpoint looks like. 
  4. Don’t get caught up in “perfect” every time. Know when to be perfect or not. Budgeting needs flexibility and agility, but not in all cases. 

We've only scratched the surface with these tips. Want to learn more?

Check out the full on-demand webinar to learn how to:

  • Plan for the work ahead by conducting post-mortems and aligning goals and OKRs
  • Work the plan using templates and core metrics to foster collaboration
  • Partner with key stakeholders and departmental leaders
  • Present a plan that gets buy-in and alignment from the broader business

Click the image or button below to view and download the on-demand recording.

Screenshot 2023-09-21 at 9.58.52 AM 

View the recording