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Excel: An Indispensable Platform for FP&A

  • Published: 9/12/2018
Excel remains a vital tool for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals.

In an interview at at FinNext 2018, Philip Peck, Vice President, Finance Transformation and Advisory Services for Peloton Group, discusses Excel and why FP&A professionals still rely heavily on it. He weighs in on Excel’s greatest strengths—and some of its most glaring weaknesses.

Excel has evolved considerably over the years. Microsoft has continued to invest in the product, enhancing tools to meet the needs of the modern workplace. However, many FP&A practitioners aren’t aware of some of these updates and aren't close to using all of Excel's functionality. As noted in a recent FP&A Guide, Microsoft has made some key enhancements to Excel in the data management and data visualization areas.

The lack of awareness among some finance professionals may be due to the fact that they know Excel a little too well—or at least, they know the old version, which they’ve been using for their entire careers. Thus, these practitioners may not be aware of substantial upgrades by Microsoft, or how technology vendors are incorporating Excel into their solutions.

As Peck notes, some finance professionals attempt to use Excel for everything, and it’s simply not designed for that. However, many practitioners use it in tandem with other tools, either from Microsoft or from a third-party vendor. This approach has allowed them to make the most of the software’s ubiquity and flexibility, while also working around its shortcomings. Peck sees these “hybrid environments” continuing well into the future for many finance functions.

Making Excel Work for FP&A, underwritten by Vena Solutions, AFP examines the spectrum of ways to apply Excel, including recent advances, add-ins and third-party solutions/offerings. Download the guide here.

FinNext 2019 takes place March 17-19 in Las Vegas. Go here for more information and to register.

Philip Peck will discuss finance transformation at AFP 2018. Learn more here.
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