October 12, 2022

My Excel Can't Do That

My Excel Can't Do That

Ralf VonSosen
October 12, 2022

My Excel can’t do that. Can someone help me?

 Over 700 million users cannot be wrong. But, that doesn’t make Excel the best solution for every situation. Many professionals are finding themselves outgrowing Excel.

If you've ever said any of the following, consider how a modern planning and modeling platform, such as Finicast, can make your work easier, your business more successful, and your life better.

Sidebar: Finicast’s SaaS inclusive planning platform is open-ended (like Excel and Google Sheets), with building blocks of spreadsheets, pivot tables, and formulas designed to go beyond the traditional 2 -dimensional analysis in a better way than current solutions. 

1. Please don’t take more than 2 hours to compute.


  • Managing a limited set of data is easily accomplished in Excel. But what happens when those datasets start to get into the thousands and millions? Since Excel does not do well with a large number of rows, including complex formulas, there is a propensity to see stability issues such as crashes and the model hanging.

 Finicast - Compute Engine

  • Finicast is purpose-built to scale with large sets of complex data. A compute engine designed for large data sets and the ability to organize data with multiple dimensions (not just 2 like Excel) allows Finicast to compute millions of rows in seconds.
  • Get immediate results in your models instead of waiting for hours (even days).

2. Why do I have to do this on my local version?


  • Since the Excel cloud can be prone to outages in complex models and has limited editing capabilities compared to the desktop, it is not always feasible to work in the cloud version and take advantage of the collaboration features a SaaS application enables.

 Finicast - Native Cloud

  • Finicast is built in a native cloud architecture. Manage any model in the cloud and take advantage of the collaboration, data integrity, and versioning features made possible by a cloud-based application. 
  • Stay in the cloud with confidence.


3. I’m not supposed to send or share the spreadsheet, but what else can I do?


  • Unfortunately, collaboration is often managed by sending spreadsheets across teams and even outside organizations. This presents significant security and compliance issues, as well as creating delays, miscommunication, and version confusion.

 Finicast - Teamwork

  • 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 a limited access to the model. 
  • Make it easy for contributors while protecting sensitive information.


4. Which version has the updated information and formulas?


  • While different users can access the same model, Excel runs into a variety of issues when multiple users are simultaneously working within the same spreadsheet to build or update a model. Model creation is mostly a sequential exercise with versioning and change tracking issues.

Finicast - Collaborative Modeling

  • Built for multi-user collaboration, individuals can easily work on the same model simultaneously and be confident in the integrity of their work being aligned and merged accurately.
  • Build together and stop trying to figure out what version you should be updating.


5. Do we have to rebuild this whole thing from scratch again?

Engineers have long used a system of branching and merging their code to build complex applications in a collaborative manner. Now that process is available to model builders as well.


  • Every model is unique and therefore a dead end. Models can evolve, but every evolution is a new independent version with no ties to its origin. Improvements are not shared and changes need to be made one-be-one.

 Finicast - Branch and Merge

  • Every model is a potential foundation for an ongoing family of models. Leveraging a ‘branch and merge’ system, colleagues can adapt your model to their own needs while also benefiting from improvements in your original source model. 
  • Create a system of models that share improvements and updates.

 6. I don’t want to delete all the changes. How can I keep some of them? 


  • All users with editing permissions have full access to make changes. This makes it hard to track which changes have been made. In the event that issues are present in a new version, the only solution is to revert the complete model to the previous version.

 Finicast - Selective Revert

  • Selective reverting allows model owners to examine a detailed change history for their model and selectively accept or reject individual changes. This powerful feature makes it easy to isolate issues and reject them while maintaining all the other enhancements made by a contributor. 
  • It’s up to you, reject the changes that don’t work and keep the ones that do.

7. My world has more than two-dimensions. Why don't you?


  • Because Excel is two-dimensional, it is difficult to connect data from different spreadsheets to each other. That means you are required to use a variety of LOOKUP functions or use Power Query to build a SQL statement that will generate a connected version of your Excel tables.

 Finicast - Multi-dimensional Modeling

  • Finicast was built with the consolidation of different data sources in mind. No need to be a SQL programmer. Consolidate data from different sources without having to fit it into a 2-dimensional model.
  • Enjoy the performance and flexibility of managing your model in one place.


8. If I could put a formula into a Pivot Table, now that would be awesome.


  • Without recognizing hierarchical data (example: a global region has country regions, which have area regions), Excel cannot perform calculations dependent on data hierarchy. This is a very hard problem to address in a two-dimensional world. Pivot tables can help, but become very cumbersome due to their limited capabilities.

 Finicast - Programmable Pivot Tables

  • A multi-dimensional architecture recognizes hierarchical relationships and enables formulas and calculations based upon these hierarchical relationships. It’s like having a pivot table with the ability to program formulas into the rows, columns, or individual cells. Build a formula once and use it across all occurrences of that dimension.
  • Easily roll up information from different sources into a unified model.

9. I need to get this data update automated.


  • Excel provides very limited data import capabilities and generally requires the use of Power Query. 

Finicast - Integration APIs

  • The speed of today’s business required systems to communicate. Finicast enables integration to other systems using REST APIs. 
  • Have confidence that data updates are flowing into your model and automatically updating your outputs.


Contact us today to learn more about how to use Finicast to help your business today.