Christina Ross

Christina Ross - CEO & Co-Founder

November 2022 - min to read

Spreadsheet-Native: The Clear Approach to FP&A

Spreadsheet-Native: The Clear Approach to FP&A

Today, we announced a $30 million Series B funding round led by Battery Ventures. Our existing investors Mayfield Fund, Bonfire Ventures, and Operator Collective participated in the round, along with the new addition of GTMfund.

This financing and their votes of confidence underscore our thesis: Now, more than ever, companies must strategically plan, assess performance, then plan, and plan again. 

Plan better, plan faster

With venture funding expected to decrease 19% quarter-over-quarter, gone is the promise of endless capital without guardrails. Terms like burn rate and EBITDA have replaced growth rate multiples nearly overnight.

Many investors are hitting the funding brakes and telling CFOs a “Plan B” isn’t good enough, instructing them to build multi-scenario plans

In today’s market, cash and runway are key to survival—and both require quick action and holistic financial planning and analysis (FP&A). As companies race to analyze performance, they must also strike the delicate balance between growth and operational efficiency.

This is no easy feat, and disappointingly, CFOs lack the basic tools to move fast.

A tale of two inadequate options

For decades, finance teams have had just two options for managing their FP&A: 

  1. Stay the course and make do in manual spreadsheets, or 
  2. Rip and replace spreadsheets for new tech with long, disruptive implementations and low adoption rates.

Finance teams who make do with spreadsheets say they need more to survive because they lack the control, workflow, and automation needed to enable the business to be agile. And yet, when finance teams attempt to replace their spreadsheets with heavy tech, 81% revert back.

As a former CFO and technology consultant, this dilemma is all too familiar and personal. After nearly two decades in finance, I’ve been a user, implementer, admin, and consultant for more than half a dozen solutions, and frankly, I’ve never had a positive experience.

I’m not alone: According to a recent survey by Battery Ventures, FP&A software ranks the lowest of all financial software categories with a -28 NPS. For reference, cable and internet providers typically hover around a 0 NPS.

Buyer beware

Most recently, I used a “leading” solution at my last startup only to have the implementation drag on for months.

It required external consultants who didn’t understand my business, there was a steep learning curve, and while we bought the solution to save time and move faster, we found ourselves facing the harsh reality that no one knew how to use it.

In other words: It was slogging away our time.

Things got worse from there. We spent tens of thousands of dollars and several months on consulting fees to train the team. Even after getting everything somewhat stable, we dealt with endless stakeholder rejection.

One budget owner even said: “I won’t log into that thing, but I can send you a spreadsheet.”

When markets are performing at an all-time high, these two options are inadequate. When we consider them in today’s landscape, it’s clear they’re hindering companies' abilities to move at the pace required by changing market conditions.   

The clear approach:

Spreadsheet-Native FP&A

Cube is the first spreadsheet-native FP&A platform that helps strategic finance teams build multi-scenario plans, track performance, and drive business decisions using the spreadsheets they've come to rely on.

By integrating FP&A automation and workflows into the tools users live in every day, including Excel and Google Sheets, Cube enables teams to quickly and confidently plan for the unexpected and stay ahead of changes. 

This reduces implementation time so that customers can get started with Cube in a matter of days or weeks.

It also means they can make better business decisions this month instead of waiting until 2023.

The movement

A CFO friend summed it up best when she said: “I don’t have weeks-months problems, I have hours-days problems.”

We know many prospects, customers, community members, and folks in our network are struggling to solve their hours-days problems right now. We’re working hard to develop resources to help you better plan and stay ahead of changes. 

Two resources you can access right now are: 

  • Strategic Finance Pros by Cube is a Slack community for FP&A and finance professionals to ask questions, talk shop, and learn best-practice approaches.  
  • An Excel and Google Sheets template library to help FP&A teams work faster without spending time building spreadsheets from the ground up. 

As businesses usher in an era of holistic business planning, we have a long road ahead and this is just the beginning. We're investing every dollar of this capital into establishing the clear approach to FP&A. 

If you’re interested in joining our effort, check our careers page. We're hiring smart, hard-working, and humble people in all departments, each committed to helping businesses stay ahead.