Finance Manager guide
Meet Joel, Finance Manager at Contoso. Joel uses Microsoft Excel everyday to manage and analyze department budget inputs, which are automatically updated each morning from a variety of data sources. Excel helps him draw insights and report metrics so he and his boss—and his boss's bosses—can keep a pulse on the business and make data-driven decisions.Download PDF version
A day in the life of a finance manager using Microsoft 365
Before starting his commute, Joel sees an alert in Microsoft Outlook mobile app. Penny, NW VP of Sales, @mentioned him in a comment in the company’s budget report in Microsoft Excel. She’s asking Joel if he can help her figure out why her sales numbers are not adding up. He replies that he’ll have an answer by end of day.
At the office, Joel opens the company’s Excel budget report, which is securely shared in Microsoft Teams. He highlights relevant cells and selects Analyze Data, Excel’s AI-powered insights service. Within seconds, Ideas produces a variety of charts and graphs, one of which clearly shows outliers in the data set—outliers he missed without Ideas. He inserts the new chart in the report.
After taking a second look at the data, Joel believes the outliers flagged by Ideas might point to a possible error in the forecast vs. actual data from a department’s data source. He decides to run it by his peer group and uses Teams to check availability and schedule a 10:30 AM conference call.
During the call, Joel uses Teams to share his desktop to show his analysis to his manager, who is working from home. His peers help him trace the outliers back to the data source, a separate Excel report from the Sales department. They notice a newly inserted column caused the problem.
To fix the issue, Joel’s team needs to update the budget report, which requires executive approval. They use real-time co-authoring in Microsoft Word to fill in the Change Request form in minutes. Microsoft Flow has been set up to detect the new file and automatically start the approval process. Joel can turn back to other tasks.
Joel receives an Outlook notification from Flow that the change has been approved. He updates the data model in Contoso’s budget report to point to the correct column in the Sales report. Looking at the chart produced by Analyze Data earlier in the day, he can immediately see the outliers are gone.
Joel starts a new conversation in Teams and explains to Penny and the other executives how they can use the report’s new chart to see data patterns. He also explains that the chart helped them find a data issue that had caused the sales figures to be off. This issue is now resolved and the forecast variance metric is back to green.
At his daughter’s soccer game, Joel quickly checks Teams mobile app to see if the executives have questions about his post. He sees that Penny and another executive used emojis and a GIF in Teams to praise him and his team on the quick fix and valuable new insights into the company’s budget data.