From XU Magazine, 
Issue 21

What is the future role of Excel in cloud accounting and business advisory, or is it already dead?

Here Carl shares his thoughts on why finance teams should be embracing Microsoft’s software suite, and how connecting the most powerful accounting tools can make your practices and clients digital journey radically better every step of the way…

Over the last few years, we’ve all heard strong statements that “Excel is dead” or “will die soon”. Yet whenever I engage with finance teams or businesses struggling with their data, Excel is the heart and soul of the solution, along with the trusted whiteboard & pen. Some things may never change!

It’s about using the right tools. In fact, problems typically arise when Excel is the only ‘accounting’ system, or is not implemented as an integrated solution. This is where inefficiencies and risks lie – I’m sure we can all recall horror moments with a spreadsheet such as spending the day building a report pack on old data or battling with messy CSVs and upload limits.

Whilst unconnected, you’re just waiting to experience this pain. Finance teams are embracing the use of cutting edge technology, looking to avoid repeats of the past,  but sometimes they get caught up with all the shiny new toys, forgetting what the client’s needs. Such as usability of the tools or the best flexibility for cleaning, preparing, and consuming the data.

Once Excel is connected, this will help you accelerate your move to the cloud, reducing training and functionality gaps, pleasing all types of users whilst helping you set up & onboard faster, and remain compliant under digital record keeping rules.

Ongoing, it will enable you to automate your accounting tasks, think period end routines, prepayments, accruals, tax and payroll journals, automated bespoke & practice wide reporting – essential in remaining a real time trusted advisor.

And finally, in a lot of circumstances, it can keep you working when a business grows beyond these prescribed limits; how do you analyse on 2 or more tracking categories or viewing reports & performance in multiple different styles, instantly refreshed, across a group of consolidated companies. All this automation coming from just one app partner!

I also believe advisory and data should start with what the users want, need and value. Not what the software is restricted to. To be clear, I’m a firm believer in using the right tool for the right job, I just love the limitless opportunities Microsoft’s suite offers to finance people, and enjoy showing people how Excel data can be turned into beautiful, interactive visuals with just one beautiful click into Power BI, the ultimate intelligence tool, according to the folk in the know at Gartner at least.

That’s why we’re partnering with finance teams and data experts that are already superb in delivering solutions to individual client needs, showing them a more efficient, automated way to increase their impact.

Is that the way it should be? I welcome opposing views and challenges but am still waiting to be convinced otherwise.

Why leave it there?

To find out more

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