If you want to step up your finance game, cube sheets are a great place to start.
Cube sheets are multidimensional spreadsheets that make it easy to create sophisticated planning models. The cube sheet functionality in Adaptive Insights, for example, allows you to easily create and use financial models with up to 10 dimensions, simplifying the planning of large volumes of data. (Try doing that in Excel!)
And now comes the fun part: With your data imported, you can start to twist and turn your model just like, well, a Rubik’s Cube. You can peer down into multiple dimensions as you do rounds of multiplications. You can even dissect it down to the point of, say, a particular salesperson who is going to sell 500 units of a product at a certain price. This data can then be linked to the budget in very granular detail, allowing you to build a much more accurate budget.
While it may sound complex, you don’t need superhuman IT skills to operate a cube sheet. These sheets are used everyday by our customers—giving them access to a genuine crystal ball that improves profitability analysis and may ultimately result in better overall business performance.
Anyone who has played with a Rubik’s Cube knows the challenge of resetting it to the starting point, with greens, reds, blues, yellows, and whites all perfectly aligned. Not so with cube sheets. Say you now want to try a different scenario. You simply save your version, then reset it to the default value, do more cube data entry, and work your way through a new set of possible realities.
What we’re talking about here is a very powerful, self-standing tool. A cube of data of multiple dimensions that you can twist and turn any way you want, entering your data onto the top face as you wish, and seeing the effect of all the data you enter as it plays out against all the possible factors in a model. Then, when you’re satisfied with it, you can save it, press a button to reset to default view, and chart another possible plan. And herein lies the genius of the cube sheet.
Multiple scenario planning is the mantra of modern FP&A teams. And the cube sheet is one of the remarkable tools that helps you pivot quickly and accurately as the data around you changes in real time.
You can plan your route through any number of possible scenarios—making your business more agile, forward-looking, and future-proofed. And, the data integrity offered by cube sheets means you can spend far more of your energy on the modeling process, resulting in better forecasts.
This article first appeared on the blog of Adaptive Insights, a Workday company. For more information on this topic, watch the webcast, “5 Signs You’ve Outgrown Spreadsheets for Planning and Reporting.”