Finance & Accounting

The world of finance and accounting has long since moved on from pen-and-paper ledgers and other financial records to computerized data. And because every organization has finances to manage, every organization has something to gain from state-of-the-art financial data solutions!

Where Excel Excels (And Where It Doesn’t)

While the finance and accounting industries have largely managed data by hand in Excel over the past several decades, professionals in these industries are starting to upgrade to more efficient and automated solutions.

Don’t get us wrong: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Excel. In fact, we encourage its use for some clients in the finance and accounting space where it makes sense. But we emphasize the importance of staying up-to-date with the most current capabilities within Excel to ensure your analytics outpace that of your competitors.

This article covers some of the most important benefits of such up-to-date financial analytics.

Real-Time Analytics

Why do financial professionals need their data (stock prices and other financial assets) to be as up-to-date as possible?

1.) With the pace of today’s economy, profit opportunities in financial markets can come and go in a matter of seconds.

2.) Allow data-savvy financiers to outsmart their competitors with more up-to-date information.

But how?

Conventional data analytics tools, such as Excel and Google Sheets, are capable of running real-time analytics if employed in the right way. In particular, these types of data can be automatically pulled into Excel:

Stock pricing data

FDIC data

Data from the Federal Reserve

Other commonly-used public financial data sources

Other ways of acumulating this data include:


Power BI


We can even create web displays for this type of information that appears directly on the page.

Benefits of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Predictive Analytics

For decades, predicting financial results such as revenue, expenses, and cash flows was a pseudoscientific guessing game. However, the Machine Learning literature has provided us with sophisticated predictive algorithms to improve the accuracy of our financial forecasting. If your organization struggles to accurately forecast future outcomes, predictive analytics is for you.


Machine Learning makes automation a breeze. This advantage goes down to the root of what Machine Learning tries to accomplish: teaching a computer to identify patterns and insights in data, as opposed to a human trying to learn those patterns and insights himself or herself. Thus, Machine Learning can automate the process of predictive insight generation, an otherwise human-executed, rather time-consuming step.

Financial Data Visualization & Reporting

Humans do not interpret tables of numbers well – visualizations are much more quickly and accurately interpreted by the human brain.

Tableau, Power BI, Excel, and Python are just a few examples of tools that can be used to create effective, useful data visualizations.

Each of these programs offer improved versatility in terms of report automation as well as the number of visuals available.

The days of wasting time on manual data entry are over: we can also pull data from a much wider variety of data sources than Excel, as integrations of Salesforce, AWS, Azure, and SQL/NoSQL with Tableau and/or PowerBI are much easier.

And if you do choose to stick with tabularly-formatted Excel reporting, there are a number of features we have access to, to maximize the readability of the data, including:

(1) Pivot Tables, which aggregate large quantities of data in Excel into a concise, partially-customizable format,

(2) conditional formatting, which allows us to automate the correcting of the appearance and framing of the cells based on the values of the data in those cells, and

(3) lookup functions, which allow us to synthesize multiple data sources into one by matching data from elsewhere with their proper category in the viewable report.

Your Organization’s Financial Data

To keep pace with our digitized economy, organizations of all types would do well to adopt a strong data-based practice to monitor their finances. If you’re ready to put your financial data to work, contact us at Boxplot for a quote. Whether you need help with advanced features in Excel, automation, converting your analyses to a more sophisticated BI platform, or if you’re just in need of advice about your financial data, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Visit this site to contact us for a quote on our virtual training services today.

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