“Google Sheets? That’s not a thing, it’ll never take off, nothing could replace Excel!”
This is a common quote from the financial modelling community, where Excel is king and Sheets is a second class citizen. We were recently asked by a client if we could build their financial model in Google Sheets, which I quickly shut down. Are you crazy!? But recently this challenge has got me interested: could I do it, is it even possible? Did I fail to meet my client’s needs?
For that particular engagement, I was able to incorporate some of the features of Google Sheets into our model build process. I used Sheets to collect client assumptions, rather than our usual tear sheets that we circulate via email (#oldschool).
The client was a high growth, global start up and operated on the G Suite platform, so I attempted to convert the final model to Sheets. This threw a number of formula errors and corrupted the model. The agreed scope was the delivery of a model in Excel: we left it at that. But it has always bugged me…. Would the model be adopted by the client if it wasn’t accessible in the tool they preferred? Was conversion of the file to Sheets even possible, what caused the corruption and could the issues be overcome?
Over the next two weeks, I’ll take on the challenge to convert the client’s model into Sheets. I’ll document areas where the functionality fails and whether it’s possible to overcome the issue. If I can convert the file, I’ll be sharing it with my client for free as a thank you for their role in pushing the financial modelling community forward.
Wish me luck!