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business models, strategies and technologies

Business numbers made more useful – Konsolidator-style

Konsolidator® cloud-based financial consolidation software patches two worlds together – old-school Excel and new-gen SaaS

According to its name tag, Danish-based Konsolidator® is a cloud-based financial consolidation and reporting solution that streamlines the complex processes involved in financial consolidation and reporting. It’s designed to be a quick, easy way to provide and present high-quality data clearly, enabling finance departments to deliver data that is useful and valuable at higher strategic levels. It’s a subscription-based service that’s fairly obviously  designed to meet a practical need among high-level financial honchos and corporate number-crunchers, based on practical experience racked up by the founders.

According to the Konsolidator corporate narrative, the basic pain point it’s addressing is/was the apparent lack of accounting software capable of dealing with consolidating data from subsidiaries in different countries and different financial systems, and with different ownership structures. The big boys have, of course, developed their own vastly complicated in-house systems to meet this need, but the team behind Konsolidator reportedly reckoned there was a gap in the market for SMEs that work internationally, as will happen increasingly in our global economy.

Caught between two worlds

In layman’s terms, Konsolidator® is pitched as a cloud-based solution so that those using Microsoft Excel in individual business units can pull together data from each unit’s spreadsheets (often of considerable complexity, built up over many painful years) into a single consolidated core. An Excel add-in module gives you direct access to your numbers in Konsolidator where you build the reports, including graphs and comparative figures.

It’s easy to see the practical advantages of this, but such a setup also highlights the future difficulties for companies caught between two conceptual stools. It’s pretty mind-boggling to think that Excel first appeared way back in 1985, making it close to data-crunching archaeology! And the more you spotlight the advantages of cloud-based software-as-a-service, the wobblier any reliance on old-school Excel seems. Surely relying on such a tool must have a limited life expectancy?

Descriptions lagging …

I’m numbers-illiterate, so I’m probably the last person to evaluate the practical usefulness of Konsolidator. But their self-descriptions seem to centre around “how it works” details, many of which are increasingly taken for granted in the world of cloud-based software. So there might be some need for readjustment, as the norm changes.

Accountants and their ilk are rarely first-movers in the software universe, and this seems to be a solution that’s basically applying a Band-Aid® to patch together old-school and new-school. Very practical, but plasters and gaffer tape aren’t really good (financial) engineering.