When it comes to corporate performance management (CPM), Enterprise Excel combines flexibility while eliminating spreadsheet problems—top–performers know to embrace both.
Finance pros can’t live without Excel. If there are any doubts, you need just look at a report recently issued by FEI where 92% of surveyed executives say they use spreadsheets as their primary analytics tool. In addition to that, 81% of companies supplement their CPM systems with Excel, according to BPM Partners.
That’s no surprise. Excel is the weapon of choice across all finance thanks to its familiarity, raw analytical power, and ease of use. Yet the beloved software comes with inherent shortcomings: data integrity and version control issues, and a lack of workflow.
The same study illustrates what is perhaps the biggest criticism of spreadsheets:
“At some organizations, the use of spreadsheets remains pervasive, even among very large enterprises. Gerard McInnis, Partner, Valuations, at EY, observed that one client has one million active spreadsheets tracking different sources of information within the organization. “We’re seeing this is an issue with all of our clients, where they have to backstop their accounting and formal ERP systems with spreadsheets,” he said. “There’s a disproportionate amount of manual effort.”
No arguments here. Manual effort is arguably the biggest barrier to more efficient financial processes, eating away at valuable time that your team could be allocating to more value-added analysis.
The Best of Both Worlds
Since CPM software using Excel, or ‘enterprise spreadsheets’ as coined by Ventana Research, addresses these issues—by adding workflow, source system integration and a detailed audit trail– Finance can eliminate the errors that make it a nightmare to use manual spreadsheets in collaborative and repetitive processes. As Ventana put it:
Enterprise spreadsheets are designed to provide the best of both worlds in that they offer the ease of use and flexibility of desktop spreadsheets while overcoming their defects – chiefly inability to maintain data integrity, lack of referential integrity and dimensionality, absence of workflow and process controls, limited security and access controls as well as poor auditability.
Enterprise Spreadsheets in the Cloud
Combining enterprise spreadsheets in the cloud, they become even more valuable, bringing additional benefits—security, scalability, high performance analysis—that organizations who outgrow manual spreadsheets are desperate for.
Compared to unfamiliar interfaces, Excel has been found time and time again to ease adoption and user acceptance, making cloud-based CPM with a native Excel interface an ideal solution across all organizations.
Enterprise spreadsheets in the cloud can provide teams with better results, save substantial amounts of time and resources, and ultimately provide better data accuracy—best of all, all in Excel.
As CFO.com puts it in an article titled Spreadsheet Heaven: “In the past, the CFO of a company was often also the CEO — the Chief Excel Officer. Now it looks to stay that way”
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