How to cut down your Excel habit
People like to stick with things they know. It’s human nature to feel safe with the familiar. But we should always use the right tools for the job.
What if you used a two-seater smart car instead of an electric bus to carry 60 people to your next event? I guess everyone would arrive eventually – it would take a lot of time and effort, perhaps a few detours and repeated headcounts, and maybe a few nagging doubts that someone got left behind.
That’s kind of what happens with Excel. Because this much-loved, familiar software is designed for personal productivity it’s similar to that two-seater smart car. It’s perfect when you’re working alone or perhaps with one other person, especially on zero-based budgeting and ad-hoc tasks, and so it’ll always be welcome in your day-to-day working life.
But you also need the electric bus! With the right financial planning and analysis (FP&A) tool, you can cut down your Excel habit and make sure you get the best of both worlds.
Here are the main reasons why an FP&A solution is better than spreadsheets such as Excel and Google Sheets for budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting, and analysis. It’s much easier and you’ll use fewer resources. Everyone can share information, busting down those organizational silos. Information is more coherent which encourages joined-up thinking. There’s clarity around this information; you can be sure that formulas are correct and contributors are accountable.
You’ll always work with the most up-to-date information thanks to version control and automatic data synchronization – this is ideal when there are multiple stakeholders and reviewers, and it’s especially important in the uncertain times we’re currently experiencing. And unlike Excel, the right FP&A solution will secure your information in a single, always-on database accessible by all authorized users from office PCs, home laptops, and even smartphones.
Choose an FP&A solution with a familiar feel and syntax, and with best-practice processes that can be leveraged. Free yourself to add value by focusing on the business issues and insights via self-service dashboards. You don’t need to be a statistician if you’re using an FP&A solution with baked-in artificial intelligence (AI) – simply link your key performance indicators (KPIs) to AI-based predictive analytics to validate and improve forecast accuracy with a direct effect on the bottom line.
So if you’re just nipping around, doing a couple of things for yourself, keep using Excel. For everything else, you know it makes sense to catch the FP&A bus!