Cash Flow Analysis & Strongbox: Bringing Precision to Excel
The cash flow statement is one of the most crucial financial statements for businesses to assess things like their liquidity, solvency, and financial flexibility. For accounting professionals looking to evaluate and provide insights on a business, the cash flow statement is a must-have. Cash flow analysis, an essential tool in any accountant’s toolbelt, is most often performed in Excel where powerful data functions can be applied to the data. However, the process of getting comprehensive and accurate cash flow data into Excel for that analysis can be time consuming, error-prone, and incomplete. This is the problem Strongbox solves, and then some.
Why Use Excel for Cash Flow Analysis?
For most accounting professionals, Excel is an anchor, a reliable collaborative tool where they perform the vast majority of their work. With a myriad of functions, ranging from simple arithmetic to complex macros and pivot tables, Excel is the gold standard in the accounting world. When a cash flow statement sits inside Excel, it’s not just a statement anymore; it’s a playground for insights.
Excel can reveal deeper insights in cash flow statements. Here’s how accounting professionals can uncover them:
Customize Data Views: Filter, sort, and structure the cash flow statements as per your client’s specific needs. Want to take a closer look at only the operating activities for the last quarter? A couple of clicks, and it’s there for you in Excel.
Advanced Forecasting: Excel includes built-in forecasting functions. Use these tools to predict future cash flows using the business’s historical data.
Data Visualizations: Charts, graphs, trendlines – data visualizations bring numbers to life. This not only makes it easier for accountants to spot anomalies and trends but also gives you tools to help your clients understand their data.
However, while Excel is great at helping you manipulate and dissect data, all that slicing and dicing means nothing if you’re not working with accurate data.
The Strongbox Solution
Strongbox bridges the gap between raw financial data looked in your client’s accounting system and the analytical prowess of Excel. Instead of laboriously inputting data cell by cell or exporting general spreadsheets via native reporting systems that then need extensive reformatting, Strongbox brings in the entire dataset and delivers a complete cash flow statement with just a few clicks. Using Strongbox ensures that the data you’re working with in Excel is both current and accurate, eliminating human errors that might arise from manual entry.
But Strongbox doesn’t just produce cash flow statements from in the accounting system in Excel format. The proprietary cash flow analysis delivered in the Strongbox output is built using transaction-level details directly from the accounting system. In one click, Strongbox delivers categorized cash flows by type, including operating, financing, and investing, to prepare a direct-method cash flow statement. By delivering both details and summarized reports within the same workbook, you can easily trace cash movement to individual transactions in the GL.
By ensuring that reliable data directly from the source feeds into Excel, Strongbox enhances your team’s ability for deeper analysis by providing better data to work with and more time to focus on meaningful work. With Strongbox, what you see in Excel is what’s in the accounting system, only already in the format and tool where you need it to be.
You can rest assured that the data you’re working with is the most accurate data possible. Strongbox performs over 50 checks on each month of data, including completeness, reliability, and forensic checks. These tests include trial balance, accounting equations, continuity (period-over-period rolls), missing figures, activity, and correlations, report-to-report tie-outs, and Benford’s Law.
Beyond Traditional Analysis
Having the cash flow statement in Excel, delivered by Strongbox, not only saves time but also unlocks the doors to advanced analysis. This includes:
Scenario Analysis: Your team can use Excel’s “What-If” tools to see how different scenarios (like a decline in sales or a sudden expense hike) might affect the cash flow.
Integrated Analysis: By having other financial statements and accounting system data all in the same workbook, you can perform integrated analysis. For example, see how changes in vendors or AP Agings impact cash flows over a specific time period.
Macros Automation: For repetitive analyses or complex calculations, your team can create macros within Excel, allowing them to run intricate analysis with a single button. Knowing your data will be delivered in the same format every time, these standardized macros can really amplify scalability and amplify the number of deals or engagements your team can take on. This can be especially helpful in CAS and outsourced CFO teams who need to provide regular reporting and insights to their clients.
Excel armed with data from Strongbox gives your team of accountants the ability to go beyond the typical and delve deep into predictive, prescriptive, and diagnostic financial analytics. The end results is better margins for the firm, more satisfied team members, and improved client experience.
Strongbox at Your Firm
The marriage of Strongbox and Excel is life-changing for accountants. While Excel provides the sandbox for sophisticated analysis, Strongbox ensures that the toys in the sandbox (the financial data) are of the highest quality. In an era where precision is paramount, and time is of the essence, this integration is not just a luxury, but a necessity for every team that aspires to grow and deliver top quality results for their clients. Contact us today to find out how Strongbox can help you.