Spreadsheet Document Financial Report Concept

1,001 Reporting Tools…And Excel is Still #1. Why?

There are hundreds of reporting tools out there.  But guess what? The #1 reporting tool in every enterprise is still Excel – with over one billion users worldwide.

Why? Excel is easy to learn and use, and we’re all comfortable working within its familiar interface when inputting data and creating charts and graphs.

So let’s face it: Business users will never, ever, ever completely give up their Excel spreadsheets.

Watch the webcast, “10 Most Popular Excel Tips and Tricks (and When to Use Them)”

But there’s an unpleasant truth behind those Excel sheets: The static nature of those sheets makes it time-consuming to consistently produce updated financial reports. Consolidating data from different sources, checking for broken links, and reformatting time and time again is a tedious process that’s most responsible for the ‘Excel Hell’ moniker.

In other words, it’s an error-prone process that sucks time and leads to reporting mistakes.

The real problem is the work that goes into creating those Excel spreadsheets. So the question becomes: How do you deliver the automation, accuracy, and scalability of a business application, with the formatting and flexibility of Microsoft Office?

We set out to address this question for our users. The answer?  Adaptive OfficeConnect: A solution built upon the following four key principles to bridge the gap between the existing Excel sheets that we know and love, and the cloud data analytics that modern organizations need to make faster, more well-informed business decisions.

1. Seamless Automation

According to KPMG, “Using technology to automate existing financial reports is the low-hanging fruit that CFOs can reach to immediately improve internal and external reporting efficiency.”

Organizations should not need to create FP&A processes from scratch to improve existing processes. And that’s one of the founding features of Adaptive OfficeConnect: The ability to improve upon existing financial operations and reports by simply automating the manual rekeying, reformatting, relinking, and copying/pasting every time you need to update financial reports. The result? Refreshed financial and management reports, with up-to-date data from your Adaptive Planning and Adaptive Consolidation models, at the single click of a refresh button.

 2. Easy Accessibility

Business users should have complete control over financial reports – design, sharing, accessing, and consuming – without IT intervention. Finance and Accounting teams are not typically counted upon to be “tech-savvy”, nor should they be. Their job is to know how to lay out a P&L; a departmental Balance Sheet.  Adaptive OfficeConnect puts business users in control by making the Microsoft Office-based reporting intuitive and accessible enough for business users to leverage on their own.

3. Flexible Functionality

Office-based reporting solutions handle all of your stakeholders’ reporting, not just reporting within Accounting and Finance. Think beyond the reporting limitations of unmanaged Excel and focus on truly complete MS Office reporting that integrates across Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, and you get Adaptive OfficeConnect.

With the flexibility to handle financial and operational needs, and produce ad-hoc and presentation-quality reports, your organization will be fully-equipped with up-to-date metrics in any format needed. No more wasting countless hours copying and pasting from Excel into Word Board Books and Executive PowerPoints. All of your latest data in Adaptive updates across all of your reports, while retaining the formatting, calculations, charts, and narrative elements. And, rather than reformatting Excel every time your enter fresh numbers, you generate a presentation-quality report instantly.

4. Complete Connectivity

Reports and the necessary data should be aligned and integrated. Such seamless integration between report and source eliminates the manual reformatting and relinking commonly associated with unmanaged Excel exporting. With that out of the way, you can spend more time on the most productive, strategic, and/or enjoyable activities…like getting home in time to join the family for dinner.

At the end of the day Excel is our friend, although it sometimes acts like our foe (at the 11th hour the day before reports are due to the Executive Team and Board and a manually linked formula is wreaking havoc on your sanity).

The problem is that there’s been a long-standing need for a bridge between the existing Excel sheets that we know and love, and the cloud business analytics that modern organizations need to make faster, more well-informed business decisions.  Adaptive OfficeConnect is that bridge.

Learn how to make a case for revamping FP&A processes to transform the finance team into a value-add strategic partner. These three steps from Nucleus Research and reported results from top companies like DocuSign offer a solid rationale to cut ties with spreadsheets so that finance can provide valuable insights to the business. Watch this webcast:

“Elevate the Role of Finance In Your Organization”

32 thoughts on “1,001 Reporting Tools…And Excel is Still #1. Why?

  1. Ken

    Interesting thread of comments. If you want to collaborate and have up to date information that is not subject to individuals capability to use Excel, #dumpit. Excel is a comfort blanket for accountants that is just patching up and feeding off inadequacies of other systems. I’m still astounded in today’s world that so much reporting actually ends up in long winded printed docs. Is that because we are not really sure what to report and report everything by default. Adaptive offers a new way to think and deliver.

    Reply
  2. Christie

    We use Adaptive for all of our reporting, but we still export and send the reports to managers using Excel. OfficeConnect seems like the next logical step to advance the software. I am interested in seeing a rewards and benefit analysis of the additional tool and added investment. Another tool that would be useful is a plugin that can use formulas in excel to pull dynamic data from Adaptive.

    Reply
  3. Rob Scrimshaw

    Excel has been what most of us in the Finance world have lived (and sometimes died) with for the majority of our careers. Planning, forecasting and reporting with Excel has been the bread and butter that allowed us to create beautiful reports and analysis, but as it was once said, “man cannot live on bread (and butter) alone.” With the constant updating and error checking, we were spending so much time verifying data, that we never had the chance to analyze it properly for our leaders. No more! Now, we are generating error free reports at a moments notice with plenty of time to analyze what is driving it. Thanks to tools like Adaptive Insights, Discovery and now Office Connect, I can tell my family I’m on my way home!!

    Reply
  4. Bill Aiken

    Adaptive Insights’ reporting and Adaptive OfficeConnect are great solutions. Excel remains very pervasive from a reporting perspective for a few different reasons: 1) formatting capabilities, 2) flexibility, 3) almost universally available

    Reply
  5. Denise Schultz

    Excel will always remain a valuable tool for business users. Change is difficult to manage in an environment that is “comfortable” in it’s current surroundings. Excel has stood the test of time – even with it’s inherent flaws – and is widely accepted as the “go to” tool for analysis. Adaptive, on the other hand, has created some terrific tools which supplement the old “stand-by” with a flair.

    Reply
  6. Paul

    Because Excel has been around for so long and is relatively easy to use at its most basic level, it will be very difficult to displace it. I also think people in general are afraid of change or have doubts about new applications and systems so they tend to stay with what they know and can control.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    The flexibility of excel is just awesome which is why it will continue to be used. However, that flexibility also makes it more prone to errors

    Reply
  8. Andrew K

    Excel is a great tool for various tasks. Excel has some useful function for almost every profession. It also offers easy integration with other software such as word, powerpoint, etc. I am currently using Excel 2013 and it is buggy. I think Adaptive OfficeConnect might be a good future option.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I believe Excel is still #1 because the investment in learning is transferable with any company and any industry. Office Connect will be amazing.

    Reply
  10. Claire

    Excel will always be a valuable business tool, and now OfficeConnect adds Adaptive capabilities to Excel’s powers. But, there is still the opportunity with OfficeConnect to break formulas and have missing data, so it will still require maintenance.

    Reply
  11. Steve

    The executives at my organization want to see a piece of paper, that’s just the way it is. So Excel has value in its formatting and presentation customization. Adaptive Office Connect sounds like a great tool to bridge report quality presentation with quick up to date information.

    Reply
  12. Greg Clarke

    Excel is so easy a monkey could use it. But it does have functionality that might even satisfy the ODD rocket scientist.

    Whist it’s a great tool, it is a personal use tool, designed to improve personal performance, not corporate!

    Reply
  13. Kevin

    Familiarity is problem the biggest reason it’s still number one. for me, it’s also the flexibility. i can do almost anything with data that’s in excel.

    OfficeConnect is a great addition to my excel tools and tricks.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Excel is a familiar tool that is already on every desktop. We’re excited to leverage the Office Connect pulls from Adaptive, but recognize the user will have to be careful to source data accurately in Adaptive rather than relying on formulas and gyrations in excel.

    Reply
  15. Olya

    Excel is easy to use, and no additional investment is needed. Plugins and Macros make a lot of things even easier. I Love SmartView and was happy to see Office Connect come into the picture!

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Excel is used across many different companies and industries and is a skill that is easily transferrable to new jobs.

    Reply
  17. Jeremy Griffith

    I believe that people continue using Excel mainly because it is what they are familiar with. Excel is able to accomplish most of what people want when it comes to reporting data, ease of use, formatting flexibility, so it is hard make people change. But as probably is the case with most Excel users, report books eventually become tedious and very large when you are trying make your report books as dynamic as you can. That is where I think OfficeConnect comes in very handy. It takes out all of your complicated vlookups and formulas, but harnesses the formatting power of Excel.

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    Excel is the software that you are taught to use at school and often comes free when you buy a new computer. Once you are proficient using it, there is a reluctance to change.

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Excel allows for a sense of complete control over inputs and outputs. Unfortunately when those workbooks become large and complicated that control is easily compromised by unnoticed mistakes. Adaptive allows for the complexity of Excel without the chance that someone will accidentally hard-code a number and break the entire system.

    Reply
  20. Lenny Wu

    Excel is still there and going to be for a while. This is shown in the fact all BI tools have a “download to Excel” function/button. Sad or maybe not.

    Reply
  21. Brian

    Excel is an excellent tool for small scope projects, however when you need to look at things from a strategic big picture perspective information will need to flow efficiently otherwise you will lose time and money. Adaptive OfficeConnect is designed to overcome that obstacle.

    Reply
  22. Lee Hawthorn

    Excel is the greatest personal productivity tool. When it is combined with data consumption from a database we overcome the issue often seen where data workbook silos are created.

    Office Connect creates this dbase link in a user friendly way. Personally, I still think keeping the reports on our desktops limits their use. I’m in favour of keeping reports on the web formatted for consumption on a variety of devices.

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    For many of us, Excel is all we have ever known, and some folks will only be comfortable looking at an Office-based report. but I think Adaptive OfficeConnect sounds like a great bridge and I’m excited to learn more!

    Reply
  24. Gustavo

    Everyone has Excel, and everyone knows how to use it. Excel is the fundamental office tool. Adaptive Insights is embracing this, and they have integrated our Excel use seamlessly into their CPM solution. This is what makes Adaptive so user friendly and powerful.

    Reply
  25. jason

    Excel is a great reporting tool because it has become the universally accepted app or platform for sharing and reporting data. There are certainly limitations such as user error or data importing, so it is becoming more and more important to have some sort of system or data warehouse behind it that contains the data, calculations and analytics so that excel is really used for builiding the reports for presentations. Office connect really fills a much needed functionality by allowing for data import from system to excel to be automated in a flexible manner that lends itself nicely to custom formatting and report or presentation building.

    Reply
  26. Chris

    We use Adaptive for all of our reporting, but we still export and send the reports to managers using Excel. OfficeConnect seems pretty cool but we don’t have the budget for it yet. Another tool that would be useful is a plugin that can use formulas in excel to pull dynamic data from Adaptive. I used to use a similar tool from FactSet that saved me a lot of time.

    Reply
  27. Beth Loesch

    I think Adaptive is doing a great job of finding the balance between Excel, which is quite frankly easy to use and widely familiar, and the more trustworthy, dynamic, automated budgeting and planning cloud software.

    Reply
  28. Kurtis

    I imagine Excel will always be the “go-to” for reporting tools. It is a powerful tool that is used in daily activities in most office jobs. I look forward to using Adaptive OfficeConnect to see how the functionality works.

    Reply

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