Excel is a powerful tool that many individuals and businesses use for managing finances. Depending on the size and needs of your business, however, you may experience some challenges with using Excel. These concerns could include time-consuming manual entry, difficulties consolidating data, less security for sensitive information, limited collaboration capabilities, delayed reporting, and difficulties accessing historical or real-time data.
If you face these challenges with Excel, a financial planning tool can be the better tool for your company. At Centage Corporation, we offer Planning Maestro®, a corporate financial planning solution.
Challenges of Managing a Business in Excel
Excel may have worked for your business to start, but now you may be concerned that you’ve outgrown it with your new business needs. Fortunately, Planning Maestro can solve this situation.
For example, Price Family Vineyards & Estates was managing budgets across four entities with Excel. Each of the wineries had its own LLC and individual budget. As the businesses grew, it became more challenging to consolidate financial statements and manually prepare budgets promptly. Each LLC would submit a budget in Excel with different formatting, which made consolidation a time-consuming process.
As with Price Family Vineyards & Estates, Planning Maestro can solve the following challenges you may face when managing a business in Excel.
1. Manual Entry Is Time-Consuming and Error-Prone
Spreadsheets require manual data entry, which can be time-consuming. Manual entry also leaves your company finances vulnerable to human error. Some organizations that only need to track a few statistics may be able to use a spreadsheet efficiently. Still, for many businesses, the manual entry process consumes valuable hours of company time. When you choose more advanced software, you can ideally spend time analyzing data and making plans based on the results rather than inputting the data, updating it, or correcting errors.
A single incorrect formula or misplaced decimal point can have devastating consequences on your company’s decision-making or financial statements. Excel can be a powerful tool, although to use it effectively, you’d want to ensure all employees have the same skill level with the program to navigate formulas and other functions or processes to keep spreadsheets organized, consistent, and accurate.
If your team spends more time entering or correcting data than analyzing data for actionable insights, now might be a great time to transition to a more efficient finance tool that can allow you to review your data more quickly for insights and takeaways.
2. Consolidating Data Is Challenging
To successfully budget for your business, you may need to consolidate data from different departments in your organization. As a result, it is essential to have access to updated data and each data source. Getting a comprehensive picture of your company’s financial health can be especially challenging when you need to pull data together from disparate sources. When your spreadsheets are isolated from your data sources, consolidating your data can take significantly more time.
Similarly, you may deal with version control issues when you rely on Excel for managing your finances because Excel budget templates are prepared, collected, and shared manually. When you have multiple versions of a budget, it could become more difficult to identify or track the latest updates. For your team, this means the task of budgeting becomes that much more difficult. If you do not have version control in your budgeting system, you can end up dealing with errors, employees working on the same item, and troubleshooting issues.
3. Sensitive Information Is Not Secure
Spreadsheets tend to be less secure and could lead to your team sharing sensitive information, such as salary and spending information for different departments. If your business relies on Excel, you are likely using multiple spreadsheets, which can be easy to mix up when sending to another party for collaboration.
Additionally, Excel requires the user to flag the spreadsheet as sensitive or protected manually, so when an employee forgets to do so, this can result in information getting into the wrong hands. If you send a file to the wrong person or you authorize access to a file to the wrong person, this could become a security issue.
4. Collaboration Is Limited
You may struggle to get buy-in and participation when you haven’t outlined your budgeting process clearly. When your team passes spreadsheets back and forth to collaborate, you risk cells or entire rows or columns being deleted and formulas being broken.
With Excel spreadsheets, collaborating can be an awkward process, resulting in errors, limited visibility, and inefficiency. It is also difficult to trace the source of inaccuracies or mistakes when you use spreadsheets. Your team members are likely spending most of their time verifying that your numbers are accurate and up to date.
5. Reporting Is Delayed
Reporting can often be delayed when you depend on spreadsheets. Steps you may need to take before a deadline include:
- Downloading unformatted financial results from your accounting system.
- Copying and pasting data into your spreadsheet.
- Rolling up the data or formatting.
- Recreating or fixing any formulas.
- Double-checking for errors.
- Matching data to source systems.
- Sending each spreadsheet to the right groups.
When dealing with a time-consuming process, you may miss a deadline. Often, decisions based on a company’s financials are time-sensitive. Missing deadlines can make it challenging for your decision-makers to plan ahead, make proactive decisions, and analyze spending for your company’s financial performance.
6. Historical or Real-Time Data Is Unavailable
When you rely on Excel, it can be difficult to access historical or real-time data, as Excel almost always needs an input document. As a result, if you do not have an up-to-date input document, you may not know whether a data point has changed recently or whether you are viewing current, up-to-date statistics. The amount of time it takes to enter data manually compounds this issue. Since Excel does not automatically store historical data without an employee entering it at some point, many businesses frequently change the numbers in their spreadsheets, so valuable data may be deleted.
With the manual data entry, formulas, broken templates, and error codes, the time needed to manage a financial plan in Excel does not allow accounting personnel and businesses to focus on the forecasting and what-if scenarios required to oversee your company’s finances.
For example, if your organization uses an Excel spreadsheet to build a proforma budget, you may find that continuously updating and managing it is complicated and time-intensive. This is where Centage Corporation comes in.
Use Planning Maestro to Develop Financial Strategies for Businesses
Price Family Vineyards & Estates found Centage and our cloud-based Financial Planning and Analytics (FP&A) platform, Planning Maestro. From the demo alone, our software demonstrated the ability to eliminate manual data entry for budgeting and reduce time spent managing finances.
Say goodbye to the difficulties of managing financial strategies with spreadsheets by turning to Centage Corporation. Planning Maestro has the tools you need to develop calculated strategies. With Planning Maestro, you can:
- Easily develop and manipulate driver-based financial models to get quick answers.
- Test the effect of strategic decisions by running what-if scenarios.
- Predict cash flow and balance sheet performance with automated, accurate forecasts.
- Integrate data from several sources, so it becomes easier to know what you should do first.
When transitioning from Excel to Planning Maestro, we encourage your team to adjust your thinking:
- From high growth to capital efficiency.
- From reporting on actuals to forecasting the future.
- From top-down budgeting to driver-based budgeting.
- From no detailed personnel planning to automated workforce planning.
- From relying on slow and manual processes to accurate, timely, and automated forecasting and planning.
With the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy, inflation increasing costs, and the supply chain shortages continuing, implementing the right software for your business is more important now than ever.
Schedule a Demo From Centage Corporation
At Centage, we can provide you with a better way to forecast, plan, report, and budget. Our mission is to empower your business to make confident, fast decisions and guide you toward a healthy financial future. With our cost-effective FP&A solution, you can focus on your organization’s value-add aspects.
If you want to try Planning Maestro, let us know your business goals and needs. Then request a quote from us at Centage Corporation or schedule a demo of Planning Maestro to see how our solution can deliver valuable financial intelligence throughout the year and give you back valuable hours.
Centage Corporation’s Planning Maestro is a cloud planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial intelligence. With Planning Maestro, Centage offers the sophisticated features needed by small and mid-market organizations to integrate budgeting, forecasting, and deep data analysis within one easy-to-use, scalable SaaS solution. For more information on how to modernize your office of finance with intelligent planning, view our product demonstration video, or call 800-366-5111.