The Wall Street Journal Reports: Finance Chiefs Are Still Trying to Replace Excel With New Tools
"Finance Chiefs Are Still Trying to Replace Excel With New Tools," was first reported by Nina Trentmann in The Wall Street Journal's CFO Journal, July 21, 2021
Finance chiefs are still trying to get employees to move away from Microsoft Excel, the ubiquitous spreadsheet program loved and loathed by accounting professionals.
While many still see it as a helpful tool, some CFOs say finance teams rely on it too much, often for tasks that Excel isn’t well-suited to handle. That can lead to mistakes and wasted time.
Companies looking to replace Excel—at least partly—have a range of options, depending on the task at hand. SAP SE, OneStream Software LLC, Oracle Corp. , Anaplan Inc. and Workiva Inc. are among the firms offering cloud-based information technology for different parts of the finance function.
San Francisco-based Anaplan earlier this year hired Victor Barnes, a former divisional CFO at Coca-Cola Co. , to promote its product to business customers. During his time at Coca-Cola, Mr. Barnes had his team switch from Excel to Anaplan for long-term planning processes, which reduced the amount of time needed to consolidate the information by more than 70%, to two weeks, he said. Anaplan said its revenue has grown in recent quarters as it signed up more customers.
Workiva provides a software-as-a-service platform for financial and nonfinancial reporting and compliance, but even so, CFO Jill Klindt says some on her team use Excel, something she is trying to limit.
The company’s finance function in February moved to a new planning and analysis tool and is automating tasks such as approval of expense reports. “We continue to put in place systems that reduce the reliance on Excel,” she said, adding that Microsoft’s updates to Excel don’t change that.
Workiva also has experienced an uptick in customer demand since the pandemic, Ms. Klindt said.
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