New Tools now making Excel Manageable
Many accountants experience a hate/love relationship with Microsoft Excel. More often than not, Excel is the recommended tool for getting a job well done especially in situations of complex calculations where data is ever changing and those requiring use of cell functions. Spreadsheets are useful in terms of forecasting, budgeting, financial reporting, determination of tax computations and operational analysis.
Nonetheless, spreadsheets are not a perfect match either. They offer little or no protection against corruption of data and do not check any errors or validate numbers. They also do not offer the transparency that is so much needed today by auditors and accountants. As learned by most accountants, just double checking numbers will not really add up.
The fall Tibco Software for example, suffered a loss of $ 100 million occasioned by an Excel mistake. Tibco’s advisor, Tibco used a spreadsheet which overstated the organization’s share in that deal. The error resulted to a miscalculation of the equity value of Tibco which was $ 100 million savings by Vista.
With the ever growing reporting needs and the increasing work volume, accountants are forced to work for long hours in order to meet deadlines that are non- negotiable. Therefore, it is easy for mistakes like accidental hitting of a key when a cell is open or swapped numbers go unnoticed.
Auspiciously, technological advances are helping accountants to overcome complexities that relate to spreadsheets. Analysis and automated risk offer the much needed insight into errors and potential risk that may be hiding in spreadsheets. Even then, many organizations do not use spreadsheet management solutions just because they are not aware of the existence of this technology.
Technological advances do not only ensure data integrity, they also enable accountants to be very proactive in their role in business. Accountants can now get to be business partners instead of just pulling financial reports or filing taxes. For instance, through the technology of spreadsheet management, accountants are now able to help negotiation teams to come up with better proposals. The ability of quickly pulling together a what-if-analysis enables the team to view a deal from every angle instead of just agreeing to what is at hand.