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.
Problems with using Excel for finance
What's so bad about Excel, anyway? Although there's nothing inherently evil about spreadsheets, experts agree that using them for sophisticated processes they weren't designed to handle isn't a good idea -- and that's even with governance or spreadsheet management capabilities in place. The stories in this section examine the pros and cons (mostly cons) of corporate finance Excel use.
Although Excel 2013 has new spreadsheet management capabilities, experts still say using Excel in place of financial management technology isn't smart. Continue Reading
Be warned: A user of spreadsheet governance software clarifies that viable isn't the same as desirable, or even good. Continue Reading
Learn how your organization can decide whether to budget with Excel or with a larger budgeting software package. Continue Reading
Companies that try to use Microsoft Excel for corporate performance management will come up against its inherent limitations, writes one expert. Continue Reading
Moving 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.
Ease of use was a key consideration for NorthStar in its search for new budgeting software -- for operations managers, not finance users. Continue Reading
Excel-related complaints included static reports and an inability to perform what-if scenarios. Continue Reading
After a careful selection process, Parsons Electric chose Host Analytics, a cloud CPM vendor, for financial management. Continue Reading
After hitting the wall with Excel, a North Carolina rental company invests in analytics technology and finds value in business process automation. Continue Reading
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Accounting 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.
Microsoft Excel consultant Bill Jelen, aka MrExcel, walks readers through an exercise on using the MATCH function. Continue Reading
Learn how to use a pivot table feature many Excel users aren't aware of. Continue Reading
Quickly generate a list of the top five customers in four steps. Continue Reading