Spreadsheet Hell Info-graphic

The use of spreadsheets for budgeting, forecasting and management reporting is destroying productivity and jeopardises business ambitions. The following info-graphic has a number of key facts to back up this statement:

  • 82% Finance managers rely on spreadsheets for management reporting

The IBM Finance Forum, reports that 82% of finance managers surveyed cite the “primary business application for generating management reports” as spreadsheets. This gives rise to a number of issues, particularly with the regard to getting data into the spreadsheet and ensuring that any calculations made are correct.

  • 179 Average No. of spreadsheets to manage in 1 year for a 10 department organisation

For a small organisation with 10 departments, the number of spreadsheets they will manage in a year is staggering. This includes:

Annual Budget (36 spreadsheets): This assumes that 1 sheet is issued per department, which are then consolidated into a head office spreadsheet. In our example there are two passes of the budget plus a final spreadsheet with the agreed amounts.

Monthly report/forecast (156 spreadsheets). Each month a spreadsheet is created for each department that shows actual vs. budget. There is also a forecast column, through which users provide up-to-date information on future performance. These sheets are consolidated into three different reports that show total P&L for the month, budget vs. forecast for the year, and an analysis of performance by department.

The spreadsheet problem only gets worse as the number of departments grow.

  • 88% spreadsheets contain errors

Surveys consistently show that spreadsheet based systems are rife with errors. Part of the reason for this is the way in which they are used – as a means to collecting and disseminating information on a corporate basis, and partly because of their volume of cell-based rules that are hard to validate and have no sense of the data being manipulated.

  • Approx. 10% finance time wasted consolidating, modifying and correcting spreadsheets

Ventana Research found that, “… on average people [using spreadsheets] spend about 12 hours per month consolidating, modifying and correcting spreadsheets. That’s about a day and a half per month – or about 5 to 10 percent of their time”. For those that spend all or most of their time working with spreadsheets that figure went up to 18.1 hours per month (that is, more than two standard workdays) maintaining just one spreadsheet. “Even casual users, those that spend less than one-fourth their time [using spreadsheets], must devote about one day (8.6 hours) per month.

Remember, this is just for maintenance. This has huge implications as finance staff time could be much better spent elsewhere

  • £10-100K: The cost of spreadsheet errors each month

Spreadsheet errors can be really expensive. According to both PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG (http://goo.gl/ot1TEj), more than 90 per cent of corporate spreadsheets have material errors in them. Worse, estimates suggest that such errors cost between $10,000 and $100,000 per error per month. Of course, many organisations won’t find this out until it’s too late.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to managing the business that also has a compelling set of figures. Financial Driver replaces spreadsheets for collecting and consolidating data from multiple departments and locations, and has the following set of facts:
  • £0 Upfront Fee

Unlike most planning and reporting systems, there is no upfront fee with Financial Driver, just a low cost monthly rental. That means you can try it out and if you don’t like it or it brings no real value, then you can turn it off without penalty.

  • £0 Hardware / software maintenance costs

Financial Driver is cloud based, which means there are no hardware requirements, and no software to install or maintain. All users need is an Internet enabled device.

  • £0 No charge free trial

The concern for most people when choosing software is “Will it work for me? Will I be able to use it?” That’s why Financial Driver offers a free trial where organisations can see for themselves what’s involved in setting up an application and using it before committing to the product.

  • £0 Reporting option

One of the keys to improving communication within an organisation is to provide users with easy, secure access to results. For this purpose Financial Driver provides a no cost reporting option that allows users around the organisation access to data and results via their spreadsheet. Here they can see just the things that are relevant to them and they can create their own reports in a familiar environment. And as new results are released, those reports are automatically updated.

  • 1 Hour training class

Simplicity has always been a focus for Financial Driver.  The system can be picked up by anyone with just an hour’s training, after which they will be able to set up an application to collect budgets and forecasts as well as load and monitor actual results.

  • 80 days saved each year by global fashion retail brand

One customer saved over 16 weeks of finance staff time after implementing Financial Driver. In addition they were able to involve more people in the budget process, managed to close their period-end faster, and improved reporting to the board. (http://goo.gl/D1fwmm)

In today’s modern world, it’s surprising to see so many organisations are still reliant on their spreadsheets, despite the evidence on how they destroy business value. For organisations recognising the need to change, Financial Driver provides a compelling alternative.


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