The Speed of Financial Services is Moving Away From Excel

62% of financial service leaders say Excel isn’t always enough. Hakkoda commissioned an independent market research that surveyed 150 financial service leaders about moving away from Excel.
October 17, 2022
Moving Away From Excel - Hakkoda Blog

It’s a jungle out there…. a data jungle.

Hakkoda, the leader in empowering data-driven organizations, wanted to better understand how financial services leaders are using AI to visualize, model and predict better than they ever could with Excel.

Hakkoda commissioned an independent market research firm to survey 150 financial service leaders about the technologies driving their data and their growth. The margin of error for this study is +/-8% at the 95% confidence level.

What Our Study Headlines

Excel Isn’t Always the Right Tool

The world of financial services has never both moved so fast and had such access to vast oceans of data. Financial service professionals today make long-term decisions in short-term timeframes by analyzing, visualizing and reconciling data from many different sources.

It’s enough to make the average Excel user just give up and take a long lunch. 

Microsoft Excel continues to be a mainstay for financial services advisors, especially among the “Power Users” who always know the right macro, add-on, or formula. But more and more, Excel is looking fragile compared to powerful new classes of AI analysis tools in the cloud. 

However, 62% of financial services leaders and 73% of risk management financial leaders say Excel isn’t always enough to handle their work.

Big Data and Remote Work Can Overwhelm Excel

Why isn’t Excel enough according to financial service leaders? The first reason is that there is too much data to input. Second, Excel doesn’t show live data. And third, Excel can’t easily handle remote collaboration in post-pandemic culture.

Moving Away from Excel Is Coming, at Least Partially

76% of financial services leaders want their organization to pivot away from using Excel as their main analytical engine within 2 years. 

Visualization and Real-time Insights Are Excel Blind Spots

What are the tasks that are too much for Excel?

  • Data visualization
  • Real-time insights
  • Real-time reporting
  • Complex financial calculations, like Internal Rate of Return (IRR), etc.
  • Data exploration

Usage History Makes It Tough to Leave Excel 

68% of financial services leaders still use Excel because it’s where their models are, but would prefer to use a different tool instead.

Excel Struggles with Real-time Data

According to financial services leaders, the finance priorities that Excel has the toughest time tackling the following:

  • Real-time access to complete data sources
  • Flexible analytics to answer questions live without SQL or coding
  • Secure access
  • Pivot, calculate, filter, and sort in real-time across all data
  • Data preparation and joining/aligning

Excel Can Cause “False Starts”

76% of performance/analytics managers say they’ve started a project in Excel only to later realize that Excel wasn’t enough for the job.

Getting Stuck in an Elevator Is Better 

42% of financial services leaders would rather get stuck in an elevator for three hours than have to do another IRR in Excel.

Using Excel Makes It Tougher to Recruit Young Workers

59% of financial services leaders say using Excel has stifled their ability to recruit entry-level staff because new recruits want to work with a more modern tech stack.

Financial Services Leaders Are Still Preparing for AI

73% of financial services leaders say AI is the best way to turn their data into action, but only 48% say they are close to being ready to implement it.

At Hakkoda, we're bringing a different model to our clients to enable them to go further, faster. Legacy consulting models no longer meet the needs of data-driven organizations.

There’s a Relationship Gap with IT

Only 44% of financial services leaders say they have a strong close working relationship with their technology teams.

Excel Is an Obstacle to a Strong Relationship with IT

Financial leaders that use Excel more than a tech stack of analysis tools are 5 times more likely to say their growth is slowed because they don’t have a close relationship with IT.

Finance Managers Are Dependent on IT for Reporting and Data Access

73% of financial leaders say they are dependent on their IT team for reporting and open access to data.

Finance Managers Want Independence from IT

84% of Financial Services Leaders want data reports and visibility without needing to get help from IT.

Excel Users Know They Can Automate 

Financial leaders that use Excel more than a tech stack of analysis tools are 54% more likely to say most of their IT requests could be automated.

Moving Away From Excel Infographic

Moving Away From Excel, Our Main Takeaways

  • Microsoft Excel isn’t going anywhere today, but it’s falling behind other, more powerful analysis tools.
  • Financial services leaders need better visualization, real-time analysis, and data access tools than Excel.
  • Reliance on Excel is prolonging a dependence on IT for reports.

Hakkoda can help you leverage the power of Snowflake, Sigma and the modern data stack to enable your quants and analysts to spend less time working “on” data and more time working “with” data.  

Break through Excel’s limitations today and learn how Hakkoda can help you start your data transformation today.

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