Excel is 35-years-old and still going strong with over 750 million users. It’s the world’s number one financial reporting tool and despite a never-ending parade of competition – and would-be ‘crown takers’ – it shows no signs of slowing down.
And when the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, proclaims it’s the company’s most important consumer product, can your finance department afford to ignore completely?
When it comes to financial reporting, Excel tends to be looked down upon by many organisations. Users often become frustrated with the manually intensive workarounds it causes – which also increases the risk of human error – alongside the time it takes to interrogate and extract meaningful information, as well as the detail not always being up to date.
However, in most cases the tool isn’t the problem, it’s the data. And that’s why the key to integrating Excel with your accounting software is getting the integration right.
Why use Excel for financial reporting?
Here are our top five benefits as to why you might want to consider using Excel as your reporting tool of choice…
1. Providing real-time control
The limitations of some finance systems mean that the need for a manual CSV export of data into Excel, then a data manipulation phase – which includes filtering and sorting – takes far too much time. This causes reports to become quickly out of date and leads to countless hours of wasted time reformatting and recreating the information.
What modern finance teams demand is a true and live integration between their systems that will facilitate bespoke report templates to be populated in seconds with information – all without any laborious and difficult Excel skills required.
In addition, removing the import and export loop reduces human error and results in a single source of the truth, allowing for pixel-perfect management reports and financial statements achieved time after time.
Also, once bespoke reports and templates are created, they’re populated or refreshed at the click of a button, meaning you’re not producing bespoke board packs each month in a specific format. With the foundations in place, it’s simply a case of refreshing live data.
2. Your teams already have Excel knowledge
The key here is to get live information from your accounting software solution without having to be a database or programming expert. This significantly lowers the entry barrier and ensures you’re better positioned to produce strong financial reporting – we like to think of it as ‘accounting for the masses’.
In most organisations, there’s existing, ready-made pools of Excel know-how – all the way from beginners to advanced users – which also means that training and knowledge sharing is far simpler and easier to achieve.
Add to the fact that there is an ever-growing pool of hints and tips available on the internet, you’re armed with a wealth of information at your fingertips.
3. A ubiquitous spreadsheet application
If there’s one thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that employees value flexibility and thrive in the opportunity to work from anywhere. With Excel, Microsoft has spent a considerable amount of time and money ensuring it’s accessible via many devices.
The omnipotent nature of Excel gives it an edge of being a desirable and powerful convenience in today’s ever-evolving hybrid world.
In addition, it’s important to note here that, when integrating Excel with a comprehensive cloud-native accounting software solution, finance departments can forget about battling with multiple Excel spreadsheets. With a true cloud solution and clever automation, such as iplicit, there are no manual workarounds and finance departments are presented with real-time information that informs better business decisions.
4. Being cost-effective
While Excel’s a powerful reporting tool at your fingertips, there are little to no additional costs involved. Plus, it’s uncommon these days to find an organisation that doesn’t already have Excel/Microsoft 365 licensing as part of their overall cloud and systems-based technology stack.
However, while there are no ‘beauty parades’ needed or expensive training courses required, what does need rethinking is the way in which your finance system distributes, joins up and sends information to your spreadsheet companion.
That’s where today’s comprehensive finance systems can help to address these shortfalls and breathe new life into your internal, external and theoretical reporting needs.
5. Offering added value
From timesaving shortcuts and geographic heatmaps, to risk and forecasting features, these Excel add-ons provide the opportunity for finance teams to delve deeper into their data, helping them to communicate and construct accurate, real-time financial reports in just a few clicks.
Overall, it’s imperative that your next finance solution offers a seamless data approach when moving between systems, allowing full computability with Excel and any other key tools that your team utilises.
Our dedicated team can explain all the benefits and walk you through iplicit’s comprehensive functionality. Book a demo today by calling 020 7729 3260, emailing: email@example.com, or completing our contact form for a call back.