New technology lets CFOs detect and solve problems before they have great consequences

December 14, 2017

Originally published on


Excel is out: What is the new key tool to get a job?

According to the CFOs, Microsoft's spreadsheet remained in time. Now, companies are using other alternatives.

Adobe CFO Mark Garrett said his team has problems seeing what positions are held in the company. The process can take days and requires finance personnel to collect data from disparate systems that host financial and human resources information and dump them into Microsoft's spreadsheet manager, the classic Excel. From there, they can see which teams are recruiting and what impact their salaries have on the budget.

As he commented in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he does not want the staff to waste their time exporting, importing and manipulating data, but analyzing the information to draw conclusions. For this reason he is working to extract Excel from the equation.

It is not the only one: China Bistro, ABM Industries and Wintrust Financial Corp are also on a similar crusade against the spreadsheet that revolutionized the accounting sector in the 1980s . Its executives explained that Excel took a long time to respond to the demands of the finance units. For example, older versions do not allow simultaneous work and documents can only handle a limited amount of data.

Paul Hammerman, a business applications analyst at Forrester Research, put it this way: "Excel was not designed to do the heavy work that companies do with their finances." This explains why companies look for alternatives in the cloud of developers such as Anaplan, Workiva and Adaptive Insights, among others.

These new platforms connect with the company's systems, including those running Oracle or SAP programs, and allow analysts to review reports in one place, often without the need for training.

Adobe adopted Anaplan's technology last year and, according to its CFO, everything moves faster. PF Chang's switched over to Adaptive Insights to improve collaboration and cut back on assignments. The distribution of the sheets took hours, considering the 415 restaurants that the chain has in the United States, and now it is done in a few minutes.

The new tools not only allow them to see clearly what is happening with the finances of the company, but also their speed helps to detect and solve problems before they have great consequences.

For the latest information and news, visit The Workiva Newsroom.

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