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January 24, 2023 10:30AM

Spreadsheet Server: Fast, Flexible Financial Reporting in Excel

Staff Member Jack Howat
Article by
Account Executive
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(Webinar Recap)

Joined by my colleague Tony Cregg from Insightsoftware, I recently hosted a webinar all about rapid, real-time reporting for the real estate industry using Spreadsheet Server. We explored the tool’s main use cases, looked at some example reports, and answered attendee questions. 

You can watch the webinar here. In this post, I will recap the key points and learnings from the webinar. 

The New Reporting Reality

Historically, the real estate industry has been fairly averse to change and relatively slow to adopt new solutions. Over the past few years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, volatile economic conditions, and a shrinking labor market, there has never been a greater need to stay agile. This requires companies to be able to access and understand their data in real time.

In this era of remote working, clients tell us that accessing all the information required for a report can take up to a week. This slows down business processes significantly. A recent study by Hanover Research, looking at trends in operational reporting, asked over 500 companies about their main priorities in 2022 and 2023. Many reported facing similar challenges. 

Global inflation and rising interest rates are also having a significant impact on working capital and companies’ plans, particularly regarding financial risk mitigation and employee attrition. Fifty percent of companies surveyed said they struggled to execute planning and reporting due to resource shortages.

Companies have told us that too often, accessing the data required for reporting is a manual task that is time-consuming and error-prone. Eighty percent of survey respondents believed they were too reliant on IT, over half said that it takes too long to create reports, and one in three reported struggling with data limitations and inaccuracies. 

Three Common Operational Reports 

Three out of four survey respondents reported taking more than one hour to generate reports on receivables, payables, and project expense analysis. One in three reported taking more than five hours to generate each report. As you can see, this takes up a huge amount of staff time and consumes significant resources. 

Automating these manual activities can save you personnel time and money. It can also make your data more accurate by pulling it directly from your source ERP. 

Prebuilt Reports in Spreadsheet Server

One of Spreadsheet Server’s most notable and useful features is its list of prebuilt reports that you can use almost immediately once the tool is connected to your ERP suite. A few of the most commonly used reports you’ll want to be aware of include: 

  • Rolling Cash Flow: This provides cash balance visibility on the next key reporting date.
    • Payables Aging and Receivables Aging: These allow you to monitor debtor liabilities, forecast future collections, and manage cash flow.
  • Inventory Analysis: This provides real-time insights into your on-hand inventory and turnover percentages. 
  • Vendor Analysis: See real-time data on your actual spend by supplier. 
  • Receivables Applied Receipts: Track customer receipts to ensure collections are on schedule. 
  • Compliance Reporting: This includes debtor reports. 

Direct access to this data makes your workforce, including your remote team members, much more self-reliant. It also cuts down on the time people will spend compiling data for reports. Spreadsheet Server’s secure access and robust security standards ensure the safety and integrity of your data no matter where your employees are in the world. 

Excel Analytics Made Easy

With Spreadsheet Server, you can enjoy all the benefits of Excel without losing the integrity of your accounting and operations systems. Spreadsheet Server’s power lies in its ability to drill down quickly into live data from MRI or Yardi, generate and distribute reports in a fraction of the time, and create dashboards based on specific data sets. Instead of switching between different tools, with Spreadsheet Server you will stay in Excel the entire time. 

Spreadsheet Server provides a single, integrated platform for reporting, analytics, and planning. Constructed with self-service in mind and offering real-time data connectivity, it allows you to explore your data, distribute reports, and go deeper into the details that make up the bigger picture. Once your reports are set up, automatic scheduling will save you further time by compiling and sending out the reports on your schedule. 

Spreadsheet Server enables maximum flexibility in your reporting and your data. It is an easy system to learn, with the learning curve taking a fraction of the time the tool will save you. 

Working With Your Existing Systems 

Spreadsheet Server can plug directly into an existing ERP system such as Yardi or MRI, refreshing data at a frequency set by you. The tool brings the data into Excel in the format in which you want to see it. 

You have absolute flexibility to choose the variables that will define the data (such as dates, years, or specific properties), changing the figures within your reports automatically at the touch of a button. 

Spreadsheet Server allows you to view your data at a much more granular level, breaking down and sorting balances by properties, accounts, or even individual transactions. This is far more efficient than pulling data from your ERP tool, transferring it into Excel, and then sorting and manipulating it manually. Since Spreadsheet Data is based in Excel, you can also sort and present your data in almost any way you choose. 

How to Build a Formula in Spreadsheet Server

The “Formula” button within the Spreadsheet Server ribbon menu allows you to build reports quickly and easily. Ensure the tool is connected to your ERP, then specify various parameters such as report types and year as required. Under the “Segments” section, you can make further specifications, such as looking at particular properties. 

Click “Insert”, and the tool will automatically create the formula in Excel. You can then copy this, changing any details and reusing it as necessary, then build up a report and drill down into the details. 

It is also possible to set up reports to run details directly into Excel, updating the spreadsheet with the parameters specified within the headings. This allows you to pre-filter, bringing through only the data that is of interest to that specific report and using standard templates across your business. 

Since Spreadsheet Server works within Excel, you can use all of Excel’s dashboarding and charting capabilities, helping to visualize your data. 

Working With REdirect 

At REdirect, we have over 23 years’ experience in helping real estate industry clients of all sizes to implement and optimize their technology for better business results. With our industry experience and market intelligence, we are ideally situated to help you elevate your business to the next level by using the right technologies in the right ways at the right time. 

We can support you with every aspect of implementing and using Spreadsheet Server, including providing training for your team if required, helping you to get up and running in the shortest possible time. 

If you would like to learn more about working with REdirect or to arrange a call with me or a member of my team, please contact us today to get started.

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Jack Howat
About the Author

Jack Howat

Jack has been with REdirect since 2020 and comes from a technology sales background. He joined as a junior consultant to learn the software before switching to a more hybrid sales role. He is currently an Account Executive and handles clients in the central and western United States in addition to heading up robotic process automation sales …