05 June 2012

CFO.com and Financial Reporting Spreadsheets

In a May 31, 2012 article , CFO.com provides a decidely negative take on financial reporting using spreadsheets in their article Spreadsheets Still a Crutch in the Financial Reporting Process.

Except of course that the article is wrong. When "More than 70% of the 1,100 global executives interviewed in a survey by Oracle and Accenture said they used spreadsheets to track and manage financial reporting on a daily basis" changing their behavior by taking away spreadsheets is the wrong answer.

The article makes it clear that a common usage for Excel is to present financial reports. If data is being pulled from other systems into Excel for better formatting, it doesn't make sense to take away Excel, as suggested in the article. Changing the behavior of 70% of global users is a fool's game.

A better solution is to use something like deFacto to leverage the 70% already using Excel. deFacto uses Microsoft Excel as the interface for financial reporting. Data is still stored securely in Dynamics GP for reporting. This is NOT simply exporting to Excel. It's using the full power of Excel to design and build financial statements without having to go through a formatting dance every month end.

It is also not the spreadsheet mess created by storing the data in Excel. The data is regularly pulled from Dynamics GP and stored a SQL Server analysis cube for easy, powerful and secure reporting without bogging down transactional processing.

Taking away spreadsheets is not the answer. Leveraging Excel with the power of deFacto and analysis services is.