Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft that was released in 1985. Since then it has grown to become arguably the most important computer program in workplaces around the world. If you’re doing your budgeting & planning in Excel, you’re not alone. Approximately 90% of companies with employees ranging from 50 to 200 use it to budget and plan. But, after a certain point in your business, you start to outgrow Excel and could be missing out on various benefits that a budgeting and planning solution can provide.
With an advanced budgeting and planning solution, you could streamline your planning, increase collaboration, and run a more strategic process. Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that has become ingrained in business processes worldwide.Below are the 5 signs that show excel can no longer support your business planning.
Managing budgets in Excel requires lots of tactical work—downloading CSVs, cutting and pasting, rolling data up, updating formulas and links, building and updating forecasts and models, emailing files, and more. If you are consumed with these activities for more time than it is actually required then the efficiency of your work is going to get hampered.
Budgets usually include sensitive data such as salary information. Or you may want to prevent groups from seeing other group’s budgets. Keeping or sending files around via email or on shared drives creates a risk that the information could be seen by unauthorized people. A proper budgeting and planning solution that secures plans, budgets, or specifically sensitive protects you from the risks of inappropriate access.
3. Collaboration issues:
Using Excel and email to send out spreadsheets means maintaining distribution lists and digging through emails to find budgets. It makes you the go-to person for even the smallest things because department heads don’t trust that they have the right data, can’t find what they need, or need you to make an update.With a budgeting and planning solution, everyone has one place to go to find their data. The department heads can enter and update their own plans, budgets, forecasts, and scenarios and you are no longer the bottleneck for everything related to the budget.
Most companies follow a particular method where every month they download the actuals to a CSV file and then cut and paste the data into Excel. But a major drawback of this method is that first, you have to chase down the errors and then you’ve got to roll it up.In the meantime, everyone is waiting on their reports to see what the actuals were from the last period, potentially delaying operational and strategic decisions.A budgeting and planning solution that integrates to your financial solution can update that information with a couple of clicks and provide immediate access to stakeholders.
Most of you might have experienced this when you think you have double-checked everything, but the last minute change arrives and you forget to update the link in your formula before the presentation to management. Your business is depending on you to get the numbers right and errors reduce their confidence and could lead to misguided decisions if not caught. With a budgeting and planning solution, you can easily calculate metrics such as cash flow or model headcount expenses–without spreadsheet errors.
Any one of these signs might be enough to cause you to consider moving away from Excel for your planning. However, until now, most budgeting and planning solutions have been built to handle the needs of large companies. They simply aren’t a good fit for most smaller organizations.
Excel is still a powerful tool for smaller organizations but it cannot function alone. It requires a savvy computer user to take advantage of everything Excel has to offer to provide the best results for their company.