Plansmith Blog

How to excel without Excel

Posted by Brett Hendricks on 7/17/19 9:02 AM

One of the most common calls we take at Plansmith is from a bank or credit union looking to improve their entire budgeting, forecasting, and board reporting process. While the organizations vary greatly in size, and the person calling is sometimes the president and other times a financial analyst – most often they all have one thing in common: “I’m currently using Excel.”

Why wouldn’t you use Excel? It's cheap (almost free), works most of the time, and the reports and graphics that come out of it can be colored, bent, customized, and changed to fit almost any audience or view. It performs the function of making a budget and for the most part takes care of your reporting needs.

What is it really costing you in time and people?

The Wall Street Journal article by Tatyana Shumsky, Stop Using Excel, Finance Chiefs Tell Staffs, discusses how the process often requires your accounting/finance staff to gather the data from multiple sources that house financial and human resources information. Then, that data is often entered by hand.

“Older versions of Excel don’t allow multiple users to work together in one document, hampering collaboration. There is also a limit to how much data can be pulled into a single document, which
can slow down analysis” (Shumsky).

Now layer in trying to build and link together budgets for your branches, subsidiaries, and holding company. How are you doing that? Let me guess: with multiple workbooks, pivot tables and formulas. Are your formulas 100% right? Did the branch manager update his projections?

Are you taking into account your loan maturities and cash flow information from your time deposits and investments? What about prepayments, early CD withdrawals? Are you utilizing that information or taking wild guesses at those important components and hoping to be kind of right?

Many banks and credit unions have graduated to more specialized software as their needs evolved. The software connects with existing accounting (your core system and GL) and enterprise resource management systems. This lets accountants aggregate, analyze, and report data - all on one unified platform.

Detailed loan-repricing information, maturities, and cash flows, are captured and funneled into decision screens that take everything into account. This lets you do what you have always done as a banker: tell the system a volume and rate, and let the software do the math and heavy lifting.

If you’ve been struggling with spreadsheets, click here to schedule a discovery call to learn how Plansmith can help.

And watch our webinar to understand what your current budgeting, forecasting or ALM solution is really costing you.

Topics: community bank budget software, community bank budgeting, bank budget