Ultimate Excel finance guide

Last updated:January 2014

Editor's note

Microsoft Excel has long been a trusty tool in the finance manager's arsenal. Excel spreadsheets are ubiquitous in the finance department and with good reason -- they're cheap, easy to set up and require no training.

But while spreadsheets will almost undoubtedly always have a home in finance, experts caution against relying on Excel too heavily. The downsides of using spreadsheets for finance processes include errors, incongruent data and limited governance. In smaller organizations, spreadsheets might be more readily managed, but the larger the company, the more problems spreadsheets introduce.

In this Excel finance essential guide, read what the experts say on Excel use in finance, and learn to recognize signs that it might be time to adopt alternative technology. Read case studies from companies that formerly depended on Excel for a major financial process, and discover how and why they scrapped the spreadsheets. Finally, get handy Excel tips to optimize day-to-day Excel finance use.

1Moving from Excel to financial management applications

After grasping the true cost of using spreadsheets for major financial processes, finance leaders often decide to transition from Excel to financial management software. But determining what product to adopt and how to best implement it can open a new can of worms. In this section, find tips and advice from finance managers who have firsthand experience moving away from Excel to dedicated software, and learn what benefits their companies have reaped since making the switch.

2Accounting and finance Excel tips

Although Excel shouldn't be the finance department's only technology, spreadsheets are still handy for certain processes. Bearing in mind that Excel isn't leaving the finance function anytime soon, the tips in this section can help finance managers, accountants and auditors optimize common tasks.