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26Aug

Don't lose sleep over your spreadsheet environment, do that instead...

By Lance Rubin | Strategy, Technology, Finance, Change Leadership, Migrate | 26 Aug 2021 |

Does your spreadsheet environment give you nightmares? Read on, the answer might be different than what you think. 

When we start to look at the Finance systems and processes, we are often faced with a sea of badly build spreadsheets. 

You might have heard that the solution is to get rid of the spreadsheets with advanced technologies and ERP upgrades but and that’s not to be controversial, we do not believe this is not the answer nor that it is sustainable. Also, it will probably cost you $millions to do this in the first place to get disappointing results. 

However, all is not lost, there is something you can do to be able to sleep soundly again and skyrocket the performance of your team. 

It is possible to improve the Excel environment by following some key principles and hygiene factors that are more related to the way we use spreadsheets rather than the spreadsheet itself. 

New technology is not a magic wand, and sometimes it's not the tech but rather our way or working that needs to evolve. 

Rushing to the fancy tech still might not resolve some of those deeply rooted business challenges and it doesn’t mean you won’t need to use Excel ever again either.  

The reality is that it will be a combination of new technology and improvements in the spreadsheet environment that will be the solution you are after. 

The FAST acronym is what we use to explain the elements of this well organised Excel environment. 

It is one of the fundamental principles for solving spreadsheet issues by agreeing to uniform and widely accepted best practices of managing information.  This information can exist in the form of an input, calculation or an output within the Excel workbook.  

By maintaining a workbook that is Flexible, Appropriate, Structured and Transparent you will be on the right path to solve your challenges. 

The adoption of a FAST or similar best practice approach is the foundation to fixing deep-rooted issues whilst not necessarily having to buy new fancy technology or at least make sure your environment is healthy before you invest.  

In addition, an efficient spreadsheets environment will enable teams to adopt more advanced forms of decision making and analytics. 

As always though what you need first is a thorough diagnostic of your issue. Adopting the FAST approach doesn’t mean you should rush into it (pun intended). Like any methodology it will only solve problems that are well identified, implementation will still need to plan carefully and monitored to make sure it delivers the right outcomes. 

 

If you want to chat about financial modelling, process improvement or finance tech-stack upgrade we are more than happy to assist you and take you through our diagnostic process. You can contact us at [email protected] and we will get back to you in the briefest delay. 

You can find some case studies here.

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