Is IFRS9 giving Excel spreadsheets the boot?

Webinar reveals what will happen to Excel if CFOs start adopting automated reporting systems for IFRS9.

CFO’s are still relying on the ever faithful Excel spreadsheet for reporting on their financials, but with standards such as IFRS becoming more onerous and the ability of software solutions to provide greater insights, Excel may no longer become the solution of choice.

CFO South Africa's recent Finance Indaba webinar, in partnership with Dimago, unpacked valuable insights around why CFOs are looking at new solutions for their reporting needs.

A poll run during the webinar revealed that just over 55 percent of the CFO’s in attendance rely almost 100 percent on Excel for the reporting and that a third of the audience spend at least an hour a day, and one fifth spend two days, every month to put the report together.

Not only is using a spreadsheet an arduous and time intensive task, but it comes with its own set of additional pain points.

“If a finance person says they are not reliant on Excel they are lying,” laughs Ilze Prinsloo, corporate financial manager at IEMAS. She says that while Excel is a great support for finance divisions across the globe, there are additional drawbacks to using the spreadsheet software. “The data sheets can also become too big and because information is inputted manually the risk for human error exists,” she said.

Ilze recently transferred her finance department’s reporting onto an automated system known as Aletryx, a decision that has made her be able to report more accurately and efficiently.

“CFOs need repeatable workflows, they need to be able to hit the button and get what they need, and for many clients the data in their ERP system is messy and also needs to be cleaned up,” said Prenessa Govender, Dimago sales engineer, Dimago and Alteryx.

“A system like Alteryx lets clients pull their data onto a platform like Alteryx and clean up their data and then push it back into their ERP system,” said Prenessa.

Prenessa has worked closely with 17 major banks and one financial services institution using the Alteryx platform to simplify the IFRS 9 reporting process for these financial services clients.

Simplifying and making the reporting process more efficient and error free is not just vital for these clients but for all CFO’s – compliance is also a strong consideration that needs to be factored in. “IFRS9 has very specific principles and rules that need to be adhered to,” said Vanessa Mangyani, senior consultant at Dimago.

What Vanessa also highlights is that IFRS9 is not the only regulatory framework that needs to be complied with, and that other industries also have regulatory updates that they need to adhere to. Multinationals have both local and international reporting protocols. This is another reason why businesses use a platform like Alteryx for their reporting.

“One of our clients is automating their entire tax reporting process. They decided – instead of spending a lot of time creating reports for local and international reporting – to automate the entire process. When this project is complete it will be one of the first companies in the world that has automated reporting at this scale,” she said.

Webinar attendees left the session understanding not only that their days of pivot tables in Excel may have come to an end, but also that by using a platform like Alteryx, they are able to customise the workflows and reporting processes so the platform can deliver what they need – all they need to do then, is click a button.