Is internal reporting at most funds really so Excel & PPT heavy still?

Hi there,


I spent some time at a BB before moving into Big Tech. Did a variety of data roles, with my last 4 years running a Finance team (FP&A and Sales Finance). In Big Tech, we used a ton of SQL and other automation so that slides & reports on operational performance were fully automated. This is not rocket science, but scales really well.


I moved to a PE to be head of data there this year, and my mind is blown how manual and old-school the reporting is. I understand that DD on a deal is ad-hoc, but quarterly portfolio updates and the data for LP reporting is just a shitload of Excel, PPT and willpower by the employees. You can build a setup once (takes a few hundred hours altogether) for a fund where repetitive reporting is 90%+ less shitty.
Is this really the norm in the industry?

 
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Tbh we’ve tried to automate these processes over and over and every time we try some new high tech solution the outputs are riddled with errors. Cross checking them ends up taking the same amount of time as just doing it manually.

 

I hear that the out-of-the-box packages blow, just like you can’t buy an excel template and be done with it.

My point is that data eng + sheets works for companies at 200bn+ in rev; you can automate quarterly portfolio slides or at least 90% and tidy with sheets.

 

Every solution we've tried to implement for this has ended up taking more time than it saved in data input and checking. There's no standard across portcos in how they report / send us data plus each quarter there's typically a myriad of PFs and adjustments to make. Add to that most PE associates are using excel/PPT every day and are pretty efficient / comfortable with them it's difficult to switch. 

 

iLevel and Dynamo are an ok starting point, but checking & transforming the data to then get it into sheets and slides still is 80% of the job after. In bigtech it’s code, vs software, that does a lot of that work and then sheets + slides. Just surprised because I know how this stuff can work, but funds don’t do it.

I moved last year*, and some of the stuff I built has already automated 50-70% of portfolio reporting crap away.

 

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