For most finance professionals, Excel has long been the gold standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting. It is a great tool with numerous features that offer a lot of functionality. But in the global marketplace that is facing rapid changes due to digital transformation, is Excel alone still enough?

In a 2020 survey, 76% of organizations reported they are still reliant on Excel for their budgeting, planning, and forecasting and almost as many reported that non-integrated systems present a challenge. With ever-increasing demands on FP&A, why are more organizations not taking advantage of modern tools that help increase their value-add? Why not take advantage of solutions that integrate all data streams and cut your forecasting time dramatically?

Integrating Data When Planning in Excel

For example, entering data is, in most cases, step one for finance professionals. But what happens when the data comes from multiple different systems within an organization, and all of it must be entered into Excel? This is unbelievably time-consuming, especially when you consider the CEO is counting on Finance to provide data-based insights to support decision making in the organization.

Enhancing Planning & Budgeting Functionality in Excel

Corporate compliance with laws and regulations is another integral component that must be considered for budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Various stakeholders across the organization such as human resources and sales are sharing sensitive data such as employee salaries and projected sales for the next year. If that data is exposed, you could potentially be in violation of numerous regulations.

And while Excel is often considered one of the friendliest tools to create management reports, when standing alone, is it still the most modern and up-to-date tool available? With the impact of digital transformation still being felt in organizations large and small, the meaning of “the big picture” is changing. How do you make sure that you feel confident in the budgets and forecasts you provide to the CEO?

In this era, there are modern solutions out there that can transform the members of the Financial Department into true influencers within their companies providing not just data but insight that can drive strategy.

Appreciation of the important role Excel still has in budgeting, planning, and forecasting is key, but so is recognition of how far-reaching the impact of the digital transformation is on organizations. What are you doing to help your organization move forward in a digital world?

Read the complete whitepaper, “Planning & Budgeting in Excel: 8 Challenges and Solutions,” to get the full list of the 8 most common challenges Excel users face and how to solve them. Stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks for another sneak peek. We’ll look at the three core areas where you can enhance your Excel experience and make your planning and budgeting process stronger, faster, and better.