What Is a Financial Spreadsheet?

by Osmond Vitez; Updated September 26, 2017

Financial spreadsheets aid companies when preparing and reviewing financial information. They are inexpensive options for financial analysis and are easily used by most company personnel. Spreadsheets are also used in conjunction with the company’s management information system, creating a solid reporting system for management decisions.

The Facts

Computerized spreadsheets have changed the way companies handle the information of their business operations. Microsoft Excel is the primary spreadsheet program used in business today for managing and reporting information. Spreadsheets are primarily used for financial information reported from business operations, greatly improving the accuracy of the accounting department. Some businesses also create invoices from the accounting spreadsheets.

Ease of Use

Most financial spreadsheet functions are relatively easy to perform. Accountants are able to process large amounts of data by using spreadsheets that perform basic calculations, saving time and creating fewer mathematical errors. Spreadsheets can also be emailed to other departments or saved on a network system for use by other workstations in a company. If employees are unfamiliar with the use of spreadsheets, temporary-staffing agencies usually have inexpensive courses that company personnel can attend for training.

Accounting Functions

Almost all accounting functions can be processed by financial spreadsheets: budgets, depreciation schedules, account reviews and financial statements. Preparing this information usually requires a standard spreadsheet form to be created, and then the financial information can be input from department paperwork. The standard form is then saved each month for ease of review on a monthly or yearly basis.

Business Analysis

Analyzing financial information from spreadsheets is a quick and simple process once the accounting process is complete. A standard spreadsheet of financial ratios can be created with the information filling directly from the accounting spreadsheets. This saves management countless hours of poring through information to find the numbers needed for the ratios. Financial statements can also be created by linking the financial statement spreadsheet to other spreadsheets, automatically filling in the information.

MIS Exporting

Most management information systems and accounting software will export financial information into a spreadsheet for management review. This functionality helps accountants take standard reports from the company software and remove unnecessary information. Financial information can also be exported from the software and then automatically entered into the standard accounting spreadsheets, creating less turnaround time for management reports.

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