Those members of the Finance Department (or Office of Finance) who are closely involved with production of Financial Consolidations, Budgets, Plans, Forecasts, Reports and Analyses will, like me, have become accustomed to the constant messaging from Performance Management Software vendors which constantly point out how dangerous and time-consuming the reliance on spreadsheets for these tasks can be.
Unsurprisingly, I’m not going to argue with that point of view (!!), but I’m pretty sure that most CFO’s, Financial Directors, Controllers and Management Accountants will be well aware of the pitfalls of using spreadsheets in this manner.
Let’s face it, spreadsheets are not going to go away any time soon and used as a personal productivity tool they are ideal. So, are spreadsheets really the ‘Bad Guys’ of your finance department, set to prevent you for ever more from implementing a ‘built-for-purpose’ Financial Corporate Performance Management (FCPM) platform (hopefully from LucaNet of course!), or is there something else more fundamental preventing many finance professionals from adopting FCPM technology?
Last November, we attended a Dining Club event run by Gary Simon of the Modern Finance Forum as event co-sponsors. The theme of this enjoyable evening was The Future of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting Survey 2016 and we were joined by well over 100 senior financial executives on the night.
As ever, there was a lot of conversation around the use of spreadsheets within their respective finance departments, with all the well-known downsides of their use obviously well understood by those attending. With this in mind, we simply asked the following question – ‘If you know the pitfalls of spreadsheets for Financial Reporting tasks, what prevents your company from moving to a FCPM product with all the benefits it will offer?’ The answer was universal – access to data!
The one factor that was holding back this switched-on audience from universally adopting a FCPM platform was the effort required to connect to their data sources – both the cost and time involved from many vendors was so considerable that our audience were choosing to stay with spreadsheets! I’m proud to say that LucaNet solves this issue beautifully and we have recently been Top-Ranked for this in the influential BARC Planning Survey 2017.
I’d really appreciate anyone reading this to leave a comment and share your own personal observations and preferences. I’m sure there are many more opinions to be shared on this topic and we’d love to hear from you.