Paul L. Caron

Friday, July 30, 2021

WSJ: Finance Chiefs Try To Wean Employees From Excel Without Much Success

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Wall Street Journal, Finance Chiefs Are Still Trying to Replace Excel With New Tools:

ExcelFinance 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.

Microsoft Corp. moved Excel and its other Office products to the cloud a decade ago and has offered a number of new features and updates since. But some finance chiefs still want to reduce their reliance on the application in favor of programs that more efficiently automate data collection and analysis. They say there are limitations to Excel’s effectiveness, with users having a tough time keeping track of changes and verifying financial information.

Last year’s abrupt shift to remote work during the pandemic, which forced finance chiefs to manage corporate finances and close the books remotely, highlighted shortfalls in using Excel, said Glenn Hafler, a principal at advisory firm Hackett Group Inc. “The pandemic really exposed the vulnerability that finance teams have as a result of their dependence on Excel,” Mr. Hafler said.

Inputting data manually, which is what many users still do, can be time-consuming and result in errors that go unnoticed, especially when employees are scattered in remote work locations. ...

Still, despite companies’ efforts, executives and advisers said they are unsure whether Excel will ever truly vanish.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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