Spreadsheets have become a way of life for many growing companies. With overwhelming workloads, many finance professionals rely on spreadsheets because they are easy to set up and familiar to them. Many times, it is easier to believe that familiar equates to an indispensable resource; however, I believe the tool finance professionals choose should not just be familiar. I believe the tool should reduce risk of financial errors, streamline processes, and allow rapid delivery of critical financial information, ultimately freeing up time for finance leaders to focus on strategic initiatives and big picture goals.
As familiar as spreadsheets are, they are also error-prone and time-consuming. Errors in spreadsheets are more common and costly than you think. In fact, a recent study by Ventana Research shows that 35% of companies regularly find data errors in their most important spreadsheets. That number doesn’t include additional formula errors and formatting errors. Unfortunately, these small errors add up to big mistakes, and untimely information and costly decisions based on incorrect information are just the tip of the iceberg.
The study by Ventana Research also states that replacing desktop spreadsheets with software designed for and dedicated to finance activities is the most practical solution a finance organization can make.
I agree. In my experience working with small- and medium-sized businesses, those who replace spreadsheets with a proven financial tool, such as Intacct, save time and money as well as increase control and auditability. By reducing your reliance on spreadsheets and the financial risks associated with the process, companies can reallocate the time previously spent on repetitive processes to activities that add value to the overall company. After all, isn’t that the goal for which we, as finance professionals, should strive?