I speak with a lot of organizations about their accounting processes and I am always amazed at the level of dependence on Microsoft Excel. Just the other day I was speaking to a CEO of a 15-million-dollar organization that admitted they do their consolidated financial reporting using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with 140 tabs! My first thought was “wow”, how on earth can you keep that straight and be confident your financials are accurate? The CEO went on to say it took him upwards of 20 hours a month to maintain the spreadsheet and double check the numbers. Why subject yourself to that?
People use Excel for many reasons:
1. It is easily available and comes with Microsoft Office and according to Microsoft they have over 60 million commercial users of Office 365.
2. Excel is easy to use.
3. Excel is “comfortable” and many accountants find financial report writer tools to be harder to use and creating reports and dashboards can be intimidating.
4. Excel has some great features if you take the time to learn it. In my experience most people use about 10% of the features.
Here are some reasons why you should consider Not using Microsoft Excel for your financial reports:
1. Unfortunately, studies show that somewhere around 88% of spreadsheets have formula errors in them! How can you be confident that the spreadsheets you rely on daily are correct?
2. Excel reports don’t look as professional without extra steps for formatting
3. Auditors don’t love Excel they want to see that your reports are generated from your financial system, your system of record.
There is no reason with the Cloud ERP systems available today that you need use Excel for your financial reporting. For example, Sage Intacct comes with a financial report writer built into the system that is easy to use and you can get all your financial reports directly out of the system. You can even display your memorized reports on your dashboards and have real time reporting at your fingertips.
Yes, all the standard reports in Sage Intacct can be exported to Microsoft Excel so don’t panic! Using the standard reporting out of your system of record will please your Executive team, Board and Auditors who would all appreciate getting accurate financial reports and dashboards.
If you still want to use Microsoft Excel, take a few minutes to check out these tips from Richard Ringstrom.
Have the best of both worlds and learn more about how Sage Intacct handles report writing and works with Excel here.
Suzy Zgorski, Assistant Vice President