Collaboration between finance and other parts of the business has never been more important. That’s why Excel is a platform for growth.
When a company reaches a certain level of success, it’s tempting to assume that the investments they need to continue growing are obvious. Good CFOs, though, never stop thinking about costs and value, and about what the right strategy look like.
Take Airbnb. It’s a company that essentially created a new category in the travel, hospitality and tourism sectors, and ranks right up there with Uber in being a poster child for the sharing economy. It’s the market leader for what it does, and maintaining that position while continuing to expand naturally requires a significant marketing spend. Right?
Read the Q&A with Airbnb head of brand Nancy King on Fast Company, though, and you’ll quickly see why the relationship between finance and the rest of the organization is always evolving:
Last year we hired a new CFO, and the first thing he did was look at every place we were spending money. The value of brand is hard to explain to people who think in terms of spreadsheets and finance. The idea was to explain the value of a brand using terminology and language that people who sit on finance teams or are investors could understand.
King’s solution was to use hard data to justify her budget. The company conducted a study of “iconic brands” to help show what spending in certain areas could do for the firm. While the CFO needed to think differently regarding marketing, King realized that she and her team needed to think in terms of spreadsheets — or more importantly, how you bring what’s in those cells and rows to life.
From Co-Authoring To Co-Existence
Collaboration is based on mutual respect and effective communication, and the right tools go a long way towards the latter. That’s probably why Microsoft recently announced it is introducing co-authoring in Excel.
“This allows you to know who else is working with you in a spreadsheet, see where they’re working and view changes automatically within seconds,” the company said in a blog post. “We’ll continue using feedback from Insiders to improve the experience before making it available more broadly. Co-authoring is already available in Excel Online, Excel on Android, Windows Mobile and iOS (for Office Insiders). We’re also working on co-authoring in Excel for the Mac.”
Once you add co-authoring with a connection to cloud-based corporate performance management, the concept of Excel as a platform becomes even more exciting. It means finance and other parts of the business may start to work far more closely together — almost as if they were staying in a really nice Airbnb.
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