It's Time To Move On From Traditional Spreadsheets
Businesses of all sizes devote countless hours to creating detailed business plans, forecasts, and reports to guide strategic decision-making and performance management processes. Many organizations rely on spreadsheets to deliver their plans and reports because a majority of professionals only have experience working with Excel or Google spreadsheets.
Unfortunately there are many errors that can come along with using Excel or Google. While they’re helpful, they aren't designed to be used enterprise-wide or hold sensitive content securely. Basic spreadsheets are no longer suitable or efficient for proper business planning. Here are four reasons why it's time to ditch traditional spreadsheet-based planning.
1. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. Perhaps the most glaring downside of planning with traditional spreadsheets is that they are prone to inaccuracies. The larger the spreadsheet, the greater the chance for error, which can lead to miscalculations that drive poor business decisions. It can even put your business in legal jeopardy.
2. Version 1, version 23, version Final_FINAL? Who knows?! Despite the many features of traditional spreadsheets, they are, by nature, static documents that live locally on your desktop. This can create a major version control challenge. They were never designed to have numerous authors, calculate massive amounts of data, or integrate with hundreds of other documents. If your team is planning in spreadsheets, not only will you end up duplicating work in different parts of the organization, version control issues will potentially lead to confusion about where numbers came from, who is responsible for what and even which numbers are accurate.
3. No one has time for that. Conventional spreadsheets are not known for being fast. When there are large amounts of data, the program can run extremely slowly. This can mean team members spend so much time on data collection and verification that there isn’t much time for analysis. Additionally, a spreadsheet-based planning process means teams can’t alter plans, reforecast or modify budgets in real time. As market conditions change, teams need to modify plans and reports as quickly as possible. Making these types of adjustments in a massive, complex spreadsheet can be both slow and difficult.
4. Maintenance pains. Even when an individual spreadsheet is accurate, as a group, these documents can become painful to maintain. It’s too easy for any contributor to insert rows or columns, change a formula or delete a field. It’s common for users to accidently modify calculations. This can lead to either a painful correction process or introducing new errors. Not to mention that the process of aggregating inputs from multiple users can take weeks. A single person has to collect a huge number of spreadsheets and consolidate them into a single version while also trying to maintain connected documents without creating new errors.
These are only a few of the many downsides of solely relying on traditional spreadsheets to complete your financial planning, performance, and management.
Finicast was created to provide users a platform that will scale with the size and complexity of their models. It is purpose-built to scale with large sets of complex data and has a compute engine designed for large data sets with the ability to organize data within multiple dimensions (not just two like Excel) and the ability to compute millions of rows of data in seconds instead of waiting for hours. When collecting input from others, Finicast allows for the creation, assignment, and tracking of simple tasks that are shared via email and provide specific instructions along with limited access to the model. This makes it easy for contributors while protecting sensitive information.
With Finicast, you can be assured that you are working in the most efficient way possible, keeping data safe, collaborative, and accurate. Contact us today to learn more about how you can use Finicast in your business.
Reference article: IBM.com