Microsoft Excel is arguably the most important tool in the history of the Finance Office. Studies show that 70% of companies use Excel for mission-critical financial processes and estimate Excel has more than 1 billion worldwide users. It has proven itself as a flexible tool when managing financial data sets. Therefore, it’s no wonder why Excel has been utilized as the most common mechanism for creating corporate budgets, financial reports and forecasting around the world.

However, if you have ever been tasked to facilitate a corporate budget or financial reporting using Excel, you already know that it can quickly get out of hand as the number of users, versions, and linked spreadsheets increases. Common pitfalls experienced using Excel as your primary vehicle for corporate budgeting, reporting and forecasting include:

  • Difficulty maintaining multiple versions of the workbook managed through emails between end-users and finance
  • Lack of user security to prevent sensitive information from finding the wrong audience
  • #Ref! –The web of linked cell formulas leads to the dreaded cell reference error as the model grows more complex
  • More time is spent rekeying data and managing the process than being spent analyzing the results and making effective, strategic decisions
  • Consolidating divisions or business units is time consuming and prone to error if an end-user modifies their spreadsheet
  • Planning is flat – Excel provides no dimensionality capabilities, i.e. metrics or financials by customers or products

If you can identify with any of the above, it’s time to replace Excel for a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution. By implementing a CPM solution, companies can eliminate the headaches and transform the budgeting, reporting and forecasting cycle(s) by:

  • Streamlining the processes, through the use of workflows that assign tasks, provide automated notifications and facilitate approvals from multiple stakeholders
  • Improving the budget, reporting and forecasting accuracy by pulling data directly from your General Ledger
  • Easily plan for multiple versions and what-if scenarios
  • Achieve “One Source of Truth”
  • Reduce data duplication and automate consolidation by using a single unified database
  • Offer 24/7 end user self-service
  • Control risk with security capabilities including granting permissions to the individual account or dimension level
  • Detail-level planning for personnel, capital expense, revenue, and more
  • Provide Key Performance Indicators, Dashboards and data visualizations

Don’t hesitate to enable your finance department to offer a “one source of truth”, 24/7 end user service for your budgeting, reporting and forecasting through the usage of a CPM solution. To learn more about how RSM can assist you with your other business needs, contact RSM’s management consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.