The spreadsheet is “My Lambie”

Even I was debating on whether to put this as my title. Now I know why editors of newspapers and magazines get paid so well, what will catch your eye. Well hopefully this will catch yours and my daughter won’t cringe.

First, I will explain the Lambie. I have three unbelievable daughters, ages 14, 12 & 10. My 12 year old, at/near birth received a white, stuffed animal lamb for a gift. You can go back to pictures of her early birthdays through even recently and will find that stuffed animal in many of them, somewhere in the photo, her Lambie (the doll’s nickname). It is pretty raggedy at this point, been washed more times than I can count, and certainly she doesn’t sleep with it like she used to, but it is always around her bed. It has simply become her “comfort” doll. Similar to how she may look for comfort from my wife, our dogs, her sisters or I, it has been and likely will always be there when times aren’t great, and it puts a smile on her face. Certainly got a lot of use early on during the pandemic without school, sports, activities, friends & family.

History of Excel Logos

Who knew on September 30, 1985 when Microsoft first released Excel for Macs (and later in November, 1987 for Windows) the tool would become, in some weird way, my Lambie. If you don’t admit it now, maybe shortly you will too, that you feel at ease with numbers when they are in a spreadsheet. As a CFO, why do numbers when opened on a spreadsheet look so much more comforting than when opened on pdf, even if simply someone on my team just clicked the download to excel button. I can’t count how many times I have received a report in pdf and said, “Can you resend this in Excel?” As if sending a report in excel will make EBITDA look any better. Just knowing I can add a tab or sheet, pull in certain data to the new tab to run some of my own formulas, not to verify data, but to look at the data from different angles. Create new trend analyses, split things out, add rows/columns together, whatever it is. Eventually things that make sense may get rebuilt into the original report to later get downloaded into pdf/Excel again, and do it all over again.

I realize the larger the company, the bigger the data set. I also realize automation is a must to any accounting & finance department, but even after the greatest of automation processes, I still ask to see the automated data in Excel. I admit it, numbers make more sense in my head when they are in Excel, just like words look better in, well Word. It seems I can’t start any analysis, review, diligence, assessment, until the data is in Excel. I don’t know why. I have no interest in killing automation, in fact we continue to grow upon what we have automated. I don’t want people building reports in pdf just to download into Excel, manipulate the numbers before the data is correct and then send out to management. That is not good at all. Waste of time for sure. I want reports built directly in our accounting system and pushed to my email, or run within the accounting system, and see that final report on my screen, then download it into Excel. Whether it is the P&L, Balance Sheet, Pipeline, Forecast, Budget, Staffing Reports, on and on. It doesn’t matter. When I review anything for a company, whether it is Focus or maybe an M&A target, I want to see it in excel. Is that so wrong? Hey, it’s my Lambie. Now be honest, is it yours?