Accountants rely on Microsoft Excel to handle multiple functions of their everyday responsibilities. While Excel is a lot more time efficient than using work papers and a pen or pencil to make calculations, it is not a completely fool proof system. However, Excel has recently made improvements to decrease the amount of corrupt files and loss of data, including risk and analysis solutions and spreadsheet management.
Data in Excel spreadsheets is edited and reformatted multiple times allowing multiple people to see it in different ways; this is where most errors occur. Fortunately, new technology is enabling accountants to overcome spreadsheet complexities. Automated risk and analysis solutions are available to provide much insight into potential risks that could be hiding in spreadsheet.
Another helpful feature available with spreadsheet management technology is allowing accountants to put together a 'what-if analysis' that will help the negotiations team come up with better proposals or a better counter. Developing a 'what if analysis' in Excel can be difficult especially when it is unclear which path leads to the best deals, because multiple save-as copies are required. New technology allows accountants to make comparisons on screen and take snapshots to review available options, and if it is decided that the path is not working, the snapshots are available to return to a previous version.
These advances will drastically improve forecasting, budgeting, financial reporting, and many other functions used by CPAs and other end users.