Excel skills a key issue for professionals, survey shows
08 January, 2009
Thanks to all of the subscribers who contributed to our Financial Modelling attitudes, trends and uses survey!
Key findings were:
1. Excel 2007 is still not widely used by Australian professionals at work.
Despite the fact that Excel 2007 has now been available for over two years, 71% of Australians are still not using the new programme at work.
2. Many Excel users are self-taught
Although 64% of middle managers and above use Excel every day in the course of their work, over half of them have never been on an Excel training course. Only 24% of users have been on an Excel training course in the past three years and of those who have attended, 23% cannot recall anything of value that was learned. 72% of managers know what a financial model is.
3. Excel users are predominately concerned about keeping their skills up to date.
28% of respondents were concerned about keeping their skills up to date. This was heavily reflected in the comments collected in the survey, and a common theme was that respondents simply felt that they were not aware of what was possible in Excel.
4. Errors in financial models were not a significant concern
Although model error is unequivocally agreed by financial analysts to be the number one issue with using Excel, in fact as many respondents were worried about keeping their skills up to date as were concerned about errors. Respondents were able to select as many concerns as they wished for this question, but 64% of respondents did not select errors as a concern at all.
However, 61% of proficient modellers had personal experience of an Excel error in a financial model causing a company serious consequences.
Several respondents had war stories to tell, where errors in models had gone unnoticed for months, and caused incorrect decisions to be made.
In general, most respondents seemed to appreciate the value of a Financial Model, as many were able to cite examples of good uses of financial modelling which had made a difference to their organisations.
For a full copy of the Financial modelling attitudes, trends and uses report, click here.