Our Fintech Barometer, which gathers a range of data-related insights from the finance sector, is now in its fifth consecutive year, and among the significant statistics we found was the continued reliance on legacy solutions. Despite the increasing availability of innovative new software on the market, it remains the case that nearly half (49%) of finance professionals do not escape Excel, for making spreadsheets to log information and updates of customer payments into their business.
Even more concerning, this figure represents a slight increase on 2021 levels (46%), further reflecting the fact that the industry’s reliance on the long-standing application doesn’t look like it’s disappearing at any point soon. With Excel proving to be a mainstay, there’s also been a decrease in professionals using specialist credit management software, reducing from 38% in 2021 to 36% in 2022, and almost one-in-ten (8%) said that they don’t use any type of program for debt management.
The tendency to keep Excel programs in place is particularly problematic due to data being based on disparate spreadsheets, with a resultant inability to integrate and share data securely between colleagues. This essentially leads to finance professionals working in inefficient individual siloes with a lack of focus on collaboration, and it’s this working culture which is also likely to be contributing to the bigger challenges in the order-to-cash process today.
Further findings from our research showed that 27% identified a lack of relevant insight into the customer’s situation as an issue, while accessing the right risk information (26%) and not having the correct technology/automation (24%) in place were also identified as among the biggest issues in improving credit management.
Free from frustrations
Sticking with Excel may also be playing a key role in the most frustrating aspects of a finance professional’s role today. Respondents identified manual, repetitive tasks (20%), systems that do not work well (16%) and dealing with a lot of different systems (14%) as among the biggest annoyances. A centralised cloud-based credit management platform with real-time data in one location, such as Credit Manager, can provide automated processes to help professionals bring structure to their working day.
The inability to gain oversight of data due to continued use of Excel is also likely to prevent finance professionals from effectively analysing datasets, with analytical ability considered a key skill by almost half (47%) of financial professionals.
Shaking off the shackles of isolated solutions
Undoubtedly, Excel is a useful tool in isolation, but finance professionals are essentially attempting to nurture customer relationships with their hands tied due to the inability to access data from across the business. With a centralised platform in place, professionals are able to break free from the shackles and escape Excel, while sharing real-time data to boost productivity and efficiency, providing a competitive edge in an increasingly digitised finance sector.
See the full picture of data insights in 2022 by reading our Fintech Barometer 2022 report.