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These are preliminary results from our CFO Survey conducted within Australia.

Result #1: Microsoft Excel is still the planning tool of choice for most organisations

  • 65% of respondents reported that they exclusively use Excel as their planning solution. 
  • 86% of respondents use Excel in some capacity during their planning process.

The problem

It’s well-known that Excel has many shortcomings when used for financial planning and analysis. As far back as 2013, a Forbes article claimed that “Excel might be the most dangerous software on the planet” based on the way it’s used and its critical role in fundamental economic projections.[1] The most dramatic example given was the case of JP Morgan suffering a $2 billion trading loss due to decisions made based on an inaccurate, manual Excel model. 

Key challenges with Excel planning

  • Finance teams need to spend more time making sure the data in Excel spreadsheets is accurate before analysing information to inform decision making.
  • The risk associated with ‘keyman’ dependency; the understanding of Excel planning models is generally limited and owned by a few individuals in the organisation effectively limiting insights to those employees.
  • Organisational planning is siloed and not connected to real-time data leading to missed or delayed insights.
  • There can be a lack of detailed, operational and driver-based planning. 
  • Manual processes can lead to bad data governance due to Excel data downloads and dumps. 
  • Excel data files need to be emailed or saved on share drives for stakeholders to access them, limiting access to insights. 

Result #2: Financial planning and analysis plays a strategic role in most organisations 

  • 83% of survey respondents indicated that FP&A plays a strategic role in their organisations and can impact their bottom-line.
  • Only 26% of survey respondents use specialist planning software to support their budgeting and planning processes. 

Given the limitations of Excel, why would you put such an essential function at risk? 

How we can help?

Specialised planning applications like our Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud allow you to analyse real-time financial, sales and operational data for your organisation, and to apply what you learn to improve your plans continuously. Its benefits include:

  • being easy to use
  • its ability to quickly provide powerful analytics
  • helping you to plan and adapt in real-time to drive business success
  • dashboard and reporting functionality

Get in touch for a demonstration!

Source: [1] Forbes

If you haven’t already filled out the survey, just go to this link. It will take you two minutes and we will share further findings in the coming weeks.

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