Can't live with it. Can't live without it. John Stokdyk explores the management accountant's love affair with the spreadsheet.
At the beginning of the year, AccountingWEB deputy editor Robert Lovell wrote an article about the tools and techniques used by finance directors; but there was no room in his list for the accountant’s favourite application, Microsoft Excel.
In recent weeks we’ve been talking to experts and AccountingWEB members about whether there’s a future for the traditional management pack, or whether it’s being edged out by more immediate, online reporting tools and management dashboards. Almost in unison, the message came back that Excel still plays a central role in management reporting. Most company accountants are like Bikeworks interim FD Tony Rattigan and extract figures from their accounting system for a “lot of number crunching in Excel and graphs” before presenting the results to colleagues.
This article makes no apologies about taking an Excel-centric view of management reporting. It draws on observations and advice about spreadsheet use from many of the people who have helped our management pack project, but will also set out some ground rules to guide accountants away from some of the more unwelcome aspects of spreadsheet dependence, and point to further resources to improve their Excel skills...