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AFP Guide Explores Making Excel Work in FP&A’s Data-Centric World

July 5, 2018 |

This release edited for length and clarity, originally distributed by AFP on PRNewswire

Association for Financial Professionals' Latest FP&A Guide Covers Excel Best Practices and New Applications for Finance Professionals

BETHESDA, Md., June 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — While Excel is a tool that every financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professional knows well, practitioners may not be aware of recent advances that expand its connectivity and capabilities to keep pace with a data-centric world, according to AFP's new FP&A guide, Making Excel Work for FP&A, underwritten by Vena Solutions.

The new guide explores the ways in which Excel has evolved, including recent advances, add-ins and third-party solutions. It features insights from multiple practitioners—some who are true Excel evangelists and others who only use it sparingly—to give you a broad view on how you can get the most out of this ubiquitous application.

“As this FP&A guide illustrates, finance professionals need to jettison their old perceptions about Excel,” said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP. “This guide features real-world practitioners explaining how to leverage Excel for maximum effect.”

“Excel provides finance teams the power and flexibility they need in a platform they know and love, but the Excel of today is a lot different from the Excel you learned in school,” said Rishi Grover, chief solutions architect of Vena Solutions. “Most users have just scratched the surface of Excel's potential, and solutions like Vena make it even better – integrating with different data sources to support powerful BI, data analytics and reporting for FP&A and company-wide decision making.”

To Excel or Not to Excel 

Today's FP&A professionals apply Excel to a multitude of tasks, including financial models, visualization, data analysis, data storage, textual and quantitative data, and regression and statistical analysis. Still, many teams miss the mark in terms of leveraging everything Excel has to offer. Designed to help FP&A professionals fill the gap, the guide covers:

Making Excel Work for FP&A

  1. Excel's evolution over time, including new features that accelerate end-to-end workflow and that help uncover hidden data insights.
  2. “Hidden secrets” or functionalities that only the most Excel-savvy FP&A practitioners know about, and how to address program limitations.
  3. Use-cases from peers on the spectrum of ways they apply Excel in their own organizations. Learn from Excel evangelists and others who use it sparingly in various contexts:
    • Stand-alone Excel adapted for enterprise use.
    • “Add-in Tools” such as Power BI to maximize FP&A reporting and output tasks.
    • Hybrid approaches that enable advanced data analytics and system management using third-party vendor tools, all while maintaining Excel – the tool FP&A already knows and loves. 

About AFP

Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society that represents finance executives globally. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in finance. The quarterly AFP Corporate Cash Indicators serve as a bellwether of economic growth. The AFP Annual Conference is the largest networking event for corporate finance professionals in the world.

About Vena Solutions

Vena Solutions redefines how medium and large companies manage their budgeting, planning and revenue forecasting. Vena combines Excel with a centralized database, sophisticated workflow, powerful reporting analytics in a cloud-based financial planning and analysis (FP&A) solution. Over 400 of the world’s best companies use Vena to get trusted insights that drive faster, smarter business decisions. Vena is the fastest growing company in its sector and recognized leader in customer satisfaction and product usability.

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