A number of top financial chiefs have revealed they are gradually eliminating Excel and similar spreadsheet software from their operations processes after struggling to integrate the once treasured accounting solution into their modern systems.
Adobe Inc.’s finance chief Mark Garrett has announced that his team have struggled to keep up to date with tasks, as staff fight to pull data from countless systems in order to analyse it using Microsoft’s renowned Excel programme.
“I don’t want financial planning people spending their time importing and exporting and manipulating data, I want them to focus on what is the data telling us,” Mr. Garrett said, signalling the end of the spreadsheet software’s reign at Adobe HQ.
Adobe is not alone in suggesting Excel’s days may be numbered. In fact, several companies from across the globe have implied that they are embracing a similar drive to eradicate spreadsheets from their processes.
According to Paul Hammerman, business applications analyst at Forrester Research Inc, and a number of other finance leaders, the once revolutionary software has failed to keep up with the demands of modern accounting departments, due in part to its failure to synchronise with other financial software. “Excel just wasn’t designed to do some of the heavy lifting that companies need to do in finance,” Hammerman added.
The sky’s the limit
As a result of Excel’s failings, many contemporary firms are now turning to cloud-based software as an alternative solution. Unlike Excel, accounting software such as the online system offered by Capium is capable of connecting with existing technology to allow account aggregation, analysis and report creation without manual data transfer. Some online accounting software services also make the transfer of data from spreadsheets to their cloud-based service simple, so finance managers can avoid the lengthy process of recreating well-established spreadsheet documents.
Wintrust Financial is one such firm that has seen its error rates fall and its operations transform after moving away from Excel. Anita Chakravarthy, senior vice president of performance measurement, said: “The CFO would ask: can you tell me how many loans were paid off and how many did you refinance in the last quarter, and we got different answers from different teams.” By moving away from spreadsheets the firm has now achieved automatic consolidation for each department, reducing errors and accurately tracking data changes to allow for a simpler audit process.
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