Even in many advanced companies, finance and other teams spend an inordinate amount of time importing and exporting data and manipulating spreadsheets. But there is starting to be a backlash from finance chiefs!
Finance chiefs say the ubiquitous spreadsheet software that revolutionized accounting in the 1980s hasn’t kept up with the demands of contemporary corporate finance units. Errors can bloom because data in Excel is separated from other systems and isn’t automatically updated.
CFOs at companies including P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., ABM Industries Inc. and Wintrust Financial Corp. are on a similar drive to reduce how much their finance teams use Excel for financial planning, analysis and reporting.
As companies have grown larger, complex, and with people in numerous locations the old ways of doing things in Excel just don’t work. There are too many limitations including the size of data, ability to share information, and – most importantly – a loss of transparency – with files floating around on random servers and laptops.
Leading companies are now turning to cloud-based solutions such as the NetSuite Financial Planning application. This lets finance teams aggregate, analyze and report data on one unified platform, often without additional training. And for CFO’s and CEO’s, these tools allow them to create the variables so that they can actually model the entire business and perform what-if and sensitivity analysis dramatically increasing their understanding of the capabilities of the business.