1. You Are Always Burning The Midnight Oil

“70% of CFO’s would like to do more planning cycles a year, but too many spreadsheets (56%), the volume of data (51%) and labour intensity (49%) prevent it”
Accountagility Survey of 200 CFOs

What Is Keeping You Up At Night?
  • Lack of confidence in your numbers
  • Finding & fixing errors takes too long
  • Gathering & consolidating data
  • Keeping up with the changing demands

With ever increasing demands, more compliance and regulation and tighter timescales, the pressure is on at Finance departments everywhere. Workloads are increasing, people are having to work longer hours, and even come in at weekends. To get months or quarters closed, holidays are cancelled and eating at desk is a common practice. Finance management is being asked to do more, such as continuous forecasting, but there is no bandwidth or spare time.

2. You Are Seeing Too Many Errors

“Eight out of 10 CFOs have had one or more incidents or faults with month-end reporting or planning using spreadsheets”
Accountagility Survey of 200 CFOs

How To Avoid Errors?
  • Trap bad data at source
  • Automate reconciliations and checks
  • Use tools with ‘de-bugging’ features to spot errors
  • Build confidence in your numbers

An independent survey commissioned by Accountagility reveals that “eight out of ten CFOs have had one or more incidents or faults with month-end reporting or planning using spreadsheets. Excel is invariably at the heart of such errors. It can’t easily test for and trap errors in incoming data; we all know the phrase “Rubbish In, Rubbish Out”. Furthermore, it has no ‘de-bugging’ feature, so it requires long and pain-staking effort to identify errors, let alone to fix them. Every error identified has knock-on effects, so soon the whole finance team is being impacted and held back.

3.You Have A Love/hate Relationship With Spreadsheets

“72.5% of the CFO’s are concerned by their reliance on spreadsheets”
Accountagility Survey of 200 CFOs

Spreadsheets – Are They Like Marmite?
  • Spreadsheets are easy to create but difficult to share
  • They are useful but complex to manage
  • With many users, it can be impossible to avoid version control issues

Spreadsheets are like “Marmite”; we either love them or hate them. Sometime both at the same time! If your Finance processes are very reliant on them, you may experience a series of problems, which in turn introduces serious risks to your organisation. Sharing data across the department is a challenge, as there is no true multi-user access. With multiple users and versions, the task of managing and coordinating spreadsheets can become onerous and time consuming.

4. You Don’t Have A Full Audit Trail

“46% said “Audit trail provision” was a top three priority when it comes to solutions”
Accountagility Survey of 200 CFOs

Why Is This Important?
  • To track changes effectively
  • To implement transparent financial controls
  • To keep auditors informed and satisfied
  • To gain credibility and win the board’s confidence

With spreadsheets, you can’t tell who in the Finance team has made changes to formulae or data. Nor can you tell when changes were made, unless you laboriously compare versions over time. What’s worse, you can’t see why key amendments were done, who else was involved in the changes. Where such spreadsheets are a part of a formal or regulatory financial process, there can be unfortunate outcomes. Both internal and external auditors may be asking questions. They will want to see how decisions are made, and what controls and processes are in place. Finance solutions with a comprehensive audit capability can remove these difficulties and free up valuable management time.

5. Your Reports Are Not Dynamic

“My team is spending so much time on getting the numbers right that there is no spare time to analyse and think”

Why Can’t You Generate Real-time Data?
  • Spreadsheets take too long to run complex computations
  • Your system can’t compute ‘what-if’ scenarios
  • Your accounting system doesn’t give you what you need
  • The business is on your back and you can’t match their expectations

If your organisation relies on spreadsheets for key processes in its Finance function, it can prove a Herculean task to provide the business with its ever-increasing demands for instant results and reports. Data embedded in unwieldy workbooks is hard to extract, so real-time reporting is not possible. Sometimes just getting complex spreadsheets to perform an update or a re-compute takes a long time. And that’s before you have been able to create reports or dashboards. For some finance departments, the reporting capability in the accounting system is not up to the job either. With the basics taking so long, requests for what-if scenarios or alternative models go to back of the queue. The department’s reputation inside the organisation is deteriorating, but sheer effort alone can’t remedy the situation.

I Recognise The Signs – What Next?

Analyst Advice: Find A Solution That
  • Lets spreadsheets continue to do what they’re good at
  • Eliminates the risks and constraints of Excel
  • Is agile and enables full end to end automation of key finance planning activities
  • Offers full drill-to-source capability and traceability
  • Provides analysis and commentary to help you understand your numbers
  • Is able to compare scenarios & data at any level and delivers instant reports

There is no denying that what is needed is a solution that retains the agility and flexibility that have made spreadsheets so popular, yet also enables Finance to control the data and processes, including validation and integration. The ORYX suite from Accountagility removes the obstacles, solves the frustrations and unlocks a powerful resource for the business.

In your Finance function, do you have a particular business issue that is a frustration and an obstacle to progress? If so, please call us at 0207 947 9650

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