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Does 2016 Mark the Death of the Spreadsheet for Finance?

Does 2016 Mark the Death of the Spreadsheet for Finance?

In a word, “NO”!

…But we are definitely getting closer.

Why?

Because the tools that have eliminated all of the shortcomings of spreadsheets are getting better and better. This diagram below sums up the shortcomings of spreadsheets better than I ever could:

Death of Spreadsheets

Why Spreadsheets Are on the Way Out

Right there at the top is version control. This is what finance organizations struggle with more than anything else.   I typically see 30-150 spreadsheets being pushed around during a budget cycle. That makes for incredibly meticulous and error-prone consolidated reporting among budget analysts.

Budgeting gets really fun when they try to make sense of that one directory holding not only multiple spreadsheets but multiple versions of each spreadsheet. No chance of errors there. Harvard reported a few years back that up to 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors and this recent survey by Aberdeen reported that 47% of their respondents cited old or inaccurate data as an issue.

So why do 91% of organizations still use spreadsheets (same study)?

Because spreadsheets are easy, quick, have a low cost of acquisition, and can be deployed for use quickly.

Well, so is everything you buy at the Dollar Store. I bought a screwdriver there whose handle broke the first time I used it. I bought shampoo that fried my hair worse than chlorine. And I bought a bag of caramels I later realized could have won a medieval war had they been launched from a catapult. Sometimes cheaper and easier is better, like when two companies on Amazon are selling the exact same product and one is half the price of the other.   That’s a no-brainer.

But when you are using spreadsheets to do the budgeting and planning work of an Enterprise Performance Management tool you are basically using one of those screwdrivers from the dollar store.

Fortunately, EPM apps like Host Analytics are becoming easier to use, easier to acquire, and easier to securely deploy within the organization.  They are the Wiha (top of the line tool manufacturer) of EPM tools if you will.

Learn more about Host Analytics by contacting Brittenford using this form, and by reading the following resources:

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