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5 reasons to stop using excel spreadsheets

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Financial planning minus excel spreadsheets[/caption] If you’re an accountant, chances are you have your nose stuck in a spreadsheet right now. If your idea of heaven is a world without spreadsheets, read on: There are some excellent reasons to stop using excel spreadsheets for financial planning today:  1.    You’re drowning in spreadsheets Count the number of spreadsheets you’re using. Are there hundreds? Asked to produce a forecast or new analysis at short notice – will you have to spend the rest of the day scrolling your way through hundreds of cells – copying and pasting like a madman? Are there different spreadsheets for each year, each version, for the balance sheet and cash flow? Is having to add a single product or service to your budget enough to make you break out in a cold sweat? The Answer: Simplify. Move to a Cloud-based budgeting and planning solution that offers you all the same information but in a multi-dimensional format.  You’ll be able to see all the numbers at a glance, without needing to consult 100s of spreadsheets. No copying and pasting, simply extract the info you need, add new services or products easily with the core version staying the same. 2.    Errors creep in all the time: Show me an accountant who hasn’t spent hours trying to trace back an error in a maze of spreadsheets and I’ll show you a liar. Do you spend more time protecting your spreadsheets from your own staff than you do locking the petty cash away? Are you paranoid that they will insert a row somewhere and break all the links or they will corrupt a calculation and fill page after page with #VALUE? The Answer: Cloud-based budgeting and planning solutions allow you to have much better control over the process and you choose who gets to change or add information. A detailed audit trail makes it easy to spot where things went wrong.  3. You are working late every night: Financial forecasting can be like drawing teeth if you’re relying on spreadsheets from different departments – often modified without an audit trail. Understanding the changes and history behind the numbers when attempting to reconcile them, often requires more magical powers than accountancy skills. It also can take hours – and let’s be honest, you’d much rather be spending those hours doing something much more interesting, for us that would be, being on the golf course, doing hot yoga or sharing a great bottle of wine with friends. The Answer:  Cloud-based planning and budgeting will cut the planning time because it’s a collaborative tool. Changes are made as you go along and you can easily follow the trail back to when changes were made. You can also lock down the product to control who can get their hands on your information. 4. You’re wasting money: Small companies often argue that they can’t afford anything else than excel spreadsheets to manage their finances. This is a flawed argument – because the reality is that excel spreadsheets will in the long run cost them more. Why? Because the company is paying someone like you hours to decipher and manage complicated spreadsheet systems, which could be better spent producing useful reports and forecasts for the business. More time for review and not just collating. Also, if the company plumps for traditional budgeting software – the license fees, installment fees, training and upkeep could cost the company a fortune. The Answer: A Cloud-based budgeting and planning solution such as Financial Driver will reduce IT costs as there is no need for upgrades and maintenance. Training will take a couple of days at most as the product is intuitive – think Lego, rather than Meccano. Your three-your-old cousin could probably find his way around the product. (And our user license is very affordable – shop around and see for yourself) 5. You need reports and analyses, not just numbers: Spreadsheets only tend to hold one view of the data, which is fixed as ‘rows and columns’. But what if you want to analyse spend by market sector or by product? What you need is a different view – but that involves either duplicating the data or creating a large number of error-prone cell links. The Answer: A Cloud-based financial services application such as Financial Driver will enable you to slice and dice information as you need it – allowing you to extract information to produce reports and forecasts at the click of a button without disturbing your core version of data. Tempted? Intrigued? Contact us today to set up a live or Webex demo – you’ll never look back.   Photo by Renjith Krishnan, Free Digital Photos.Net