Financial planning and analysis teams today put in longer hours during planning period – not by choice though. This mostly springs from the fact that they have to deal with huge number of spreadsheets that is marred with formula errors, unreliable numbers plus broken links and macros.
Obviously, this results in more time spent fixing the spreadsheets than actually analyzing what is contained in the spreadsheets.
This 2017, we enter a year filled with potential economic and political turbulence – triggering of the Brexit, elections in many countries, and the unpredictable economic policies of the new US president among other things. Therefore, it becomes even more important that finance teams plan smarter, not harder.
Do you want to know how can this be achieved? Simplistically, there are really just three ways.
- Get Away from Excel
There is a wealth of articles online that explains in great detail why your team should move away from excel when it comes to budgeting, planning, reporting, and consolidation. To mention a few – errors in the spreadsheets, lack of security, version control problems, inability to work online, no integration of multiple systems, no transparency, and no overview of progress.
I won´t anymore go into the details of each of those problems as I am sure by now if you are working in finance, you understand the burden of it all. I understand as well that it is hard to get away from a tool that you have worked with for a long time. Therefore, a good middle ground is to find a solution that can do server modeling but has Microsoft Excel as its native user interface.
I am talking not just of CPM solutions that appear to be Excel. Rather, I am talking about a solution that can accommodate all the benefits of doing server modeling but at the same time has retained all the cool and powerful features of Excel. After all, there is a reason why Excel has become the de facto tool for finance personnel. You just need to find that CPM solution that can do both server modeling and excel modeling.
- Invest in a CPM Solution NOW
Moving away from Excel for the budgeting process does not need a lot of convincing for finance persons who struggle on a day to day basis. The next important question is – is it really worth adopting a new technology in lieu of Excel now?
My answer is YES. A certain and resounding yes. If you want to be a company that can continually assess the potential risks and opportunities of your business; a company that is agile and flexible to the sudden market changes; and a company that wants to have a competitive advantage then yes.
Investing in a CPM technology for your financial budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and consolidation needs might be the best investment your team will ever make this year. Not only will it save your team a lot of time, it will make your team focus on value added tasks.
- Employ the Right Consultants
It is one thing to choose a new CPM solution and quite another to find the suitable consultants. No matter how good of a solution you have chosen, if the people you have chosen to help you implement do not have the necessary skills and understanding of your business, the entire initiative will still fail.
Therefore, do not underestimate the power of employing the consultants with the right skills and attitude to do the job. Sometimes it is not about who has been there the longest instead, it is a question of who is more adaptive? Who has kept up with the changing times?
While certain techniques that are a product of years in the business will always come in handy, it is also important to make sure that the consultants you employ understand the modern approaches in order to keep up with the current demands.
If you are one of those that is looking to move away from Excel and is looking for a CPM solution that can do both server modeling and excel modeling, visit www.performancecanvas.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with our finance consultants. We will be glad to listen to your current struggles and work with you to find a suitable solution that is appropriate to your line of business.
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