Are Spreadsheets Still An Effective Tool For Finance Professionals?

The following snippet is taken from a recent article written by Procurify’s CEO, Aman Mann. You can read the full article here. 

On spreadsheets still being right for finance professionals: 

The short answer: it depends on what the job is. The truth is, spreadsheets have been quietly evolving with the times through the entirety of this trajectory, and their staying power is not a result of slow adoption and negligence to potential improvements as far as solutions go. Many companies still manage pieces of their processes with spreadsheets because it is simply still the best possible solution for their tasks at hand.

For certain companies though, they exist in the awkward phase of knowing the current solution is likely not the most effective, but their lack of capacity for research and the risks of implementation stand between them and amplifying their data management processes. Being a change agent for tools and processes in a financial setting isn’t the most popular idea in the world, especially when there’s so many innovations appearing that it becomes convoluted and hard to discern the real new standards from the market converters. It also only takes one new software horror story to disincentivize employees and decision makers to be suggest a new way of doing things.

On spreadsheets being a necessary operational or financial tool: 

But do you need it? The answer to that question is actually rooted solely in how you spend. Depending on how collaborative, hierarchical, permissible and autonomous your spending processes are, the standard spreadsheet may suffice. Where you fall on the sliding spectrum of all these factors comprises your Spend Culture, and is secretly the motivation for a lot of your financial decision making and effectiveness.

For instance, if you are using spreadsheets to store financial records that configures small data with uncomplicated formulas, and real-time collaboration and cross-functionality with other suites isn’t a priority, Excel and Google Sheets’ current functionality is more than enough to keep you afloat for the foreseeable future. Between under-the-hood VBA functions, scripted data imports and data transformations possible with today’s spreadsheets, seeking out alternatives may be unnecessary.

What do you think?

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