Effortlessly Link Your Existing Excel Templates to Vena Cloud
In financial planning, having a structured and well-informed approach towards managing for instance operational expenses is key. Vena, leveraging the native Microsoft Excel interface, steps in as a formidable ally for financial planning gurus. This insight aims to navigate through the process of connecting (mapping) your current and native Excel template of operational expenses in Vena. We will zoom in on how to create a structured data entry input in less than a minute. This swift integration in Vena not only retains the familiarity and functionality of Excel but also enhances it by offering accelerated build of reports for scenario planning.
The first step towards working with a Vena-enabled Excel spreadsheet is uploading the native Excel file to Vena. It can then be downloaded and opened through Vena web, enhancing the file with Vena functionalities using the concept of mapping. Mapping in Vena is the process of connecting an Excel spreadsheet to your Vena database. To link the spreadsheet to the Vena data model, the file must first be mapped. A complete mapping is what allows data to be committed to the Vena database through Excel templates, and it consists of defining which dimensions in the data model correspond to which locations in the file, also called intersections. For example, periods are almost always put in columns, so logically the choice for the Period dimension is a column mapping. Vena can automatically recognize which dimension you want to map, making this a quick and easy process.
Let us visualize this in the below recording:
Once the file is fully mapped, data can be pushed and pulled from the Vena database. In the video below, data for a new what-if scenario is entered in cells mapped to the What-If 1 scenario and afterwards pushed to the Vena database with the Vena Save Data button.
Creating a new report from scratch (operating expense What if scenario analysis)
Once data has been saved to the Vena data model, reporting can start by constructing the right mapping. Take the case where the user wants to create a new report that can compare different what-if scenarios, with the data for these scenarios being previously entered (or loaded) in the Vena data model.
Since Vena has a minimal learning curve thanks to its Excel-based interface, such a scenario analysis report can be created from scratch in a few minutes.
The start of this process is to open a new Vena file through Vena Web, after which the Quick Build functionality can be used to easily start the creation of the comparison report, as shown in the below recording.
After utilizing the Quick Build functionality, the creation of the report can proceed in the normal Excel fashion by changing formats and adding titles, … and once finalized the report can be saved and shared or collaborated on with others.
The result is a nicely formatted report, fully connected with Vena’s database (click to enlarge).
Easily see data edits made with the Audit Trail functionality
What if the template has been used by different collaborators and a financial planner wants to check data inputs and changes made in the template?
In the scenario where a financial planner aims to analyze the where and when of alterations made to the inputs, the audit trail feature of Vena proves to be a time-saver by being a centralized source of information. This functionality enables the planner to review historical inputs within a singular Vena file effortlessly. In the absence of Vena, the planner would find themselves navigating through multiple older file versions manually to pinpoint the changes made.
Any time a user of a Vena file saves data, a version is logged with the date and time of save included. The audit trail functionality provides a list of these logged versions and gives the choice of viewing the changes made with each logged version.
The specific historic version of the file that is chosen is opened in a separate Excel file. In this file, cells that had their values changed are highlighted and Vena shows a list of the individual changes with both the old and new values of cells. These functionalities thereby provide a user with the ability to easily see who made what changes to the file and at which point in time.
Through easy and quick mapping combined with robust scenario analysis features, Vena offers a more collaborative and insightful approach to financial planning and reporting. The prospects of streamlined financial planning and reporting, real-time analysis, and informed decision-making become part of your financial process. Transitioning to Vena will leverage existing resources while embracing a culture of continuous improvement and self-supporting financial transparency. It is fast and easy, just like your famous spreadsheet solution, but let us say that Vena puts it on steroids.