Every Dollar Counts: How to Fix Marketing’s Budget Visibility Problem 

Jim Williams
November 29, 2023

Few marketers entered this profession to spend hours every month working in spreadsheets. Yet, this is the reality for so many just trying to understand their budget at any given time. As a marketer, you’re told to make every dollar count, but actually counting dollars is a nightmare. 

Time and time again, I hear about marketers struggling in disconnected, error-prone, version-control spreadsheets, and then more hours in meetings with finance to determine if their accounting matches up with what is documented in planning and finance applications. This lack of visibility hinders decision making, agility and effectiveness when available dollars are left unspent on the table. Or worse, when marketing teams find themselves on the hot seat for overspending their budget. Not fun.     

Reconciling marketing spend: the impossible task

Why is real-time reconciliation between marketing and finance such a struggle today, even as marketing continues to undergo sweeping digital transformation?  Despite investments in powerful marketing automation solutions that seamlessly integrate with CRM and other enterprise apps, there is still no real system that governs the relationship between marketing planning and ERP systems. Marketing still struggles to run the business of marketing

One reason for this is that marketing and finance teams view budgets differently and use different language to describe what they are seeing. Marketing budgets are typically organized by cost centers, like demand gen, events or field marketing. But this is incompatible with the structure of most financial systems which are based on the chart of accounts – an organizational tool that provides a complete listing, by category, of every account in the general ledger of a company.  The general ledger describes accounts using terms like “agency costs”, “printing”, or “office space and overhead”—not terms that marketers use in their plans.  

This makes manual reconciliation a challenge when using disconnected tools like Excel that don’t provide a real-time translation. The result is internal communication breakdowns and lack of trust.  

People think taxonomy is trivial, but it’s not. Once you start working across tools to track ROI, you need systems like SFDC and Uptempo talking to each other smoothly and the taxonomy is the common language. Uptempo is by far the best and most flexible tool we have when it comes to managing taxonomy and having flexibility with our campaign hierarchy as our strategy and insight needs evolve.

Bridging the gap with finance

Uptempo connects marketing planning with finance systems to eliminate these pains. Through a simple but powerful integration with financial systems like SAP, NetSuite, or Workday, and purchasing software like Ariba or Coupa, Uptempo automates the reconciliation of planned, committed and actual spend.  

Marketers work in Uptempo. Controllers work in ERP. Accounts payable teams work in procurement software. Each of them gets marketing spend transparency and accuracy.  

Marketers get an easy-to-use platform to track investments, build trust, and provide visibility to finance. By automating the reconciliation process, Uptempo ensures alignment between what marketers see and the financial systems viewed by the finance team. The result is a cohesive understanding of what’s been spent and where, and a streamlined budget management process.

See how Uptempo translates Marketing to Finance:

Uptempo provides the real-time budget visibility that marketers need to manage their budgets more efficiently and effectively. In a landscape where every dollar counts, Uptempo helps marketers plan better, spend smarter, and execute with confidence. 

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