Intro from Rob:  Robert Stamsnijder is one of those people who’s been weaving in and out of my life for awhile.  I’ve had Skype conversations with him in probably four different calendar years.  He surfaces, delivers a visionary sermon with intensity and color, and then disappears below the radar, working fervently on his master plan(s).  Then he resurfaces and reports that project was merely Phase One, and he’s now moved on to Phase Three.  A very interesting, intelligent, and entertaining gentleman.  And I am happy to welcome his first guest post here on the blog.


<- by Robert Stamsnijder, aka The Mean Dutchman Smile

After reading Rob’s blog What is PowerPivot? (back in October 2009) the thought came to my mind that PowerPivot would have a gigantic impact on the accounting profession. Why? Well, if one looks at the long, long list of accounting scandals one would think that accountants will surely welcome every kind of technology that can assist them in improving the quality of their work.

There are 2 kinds of accountants



  1. The Historians Smile: Certified Public Accountants (CPA’s)
    They are the “guardians of the public interest”, this gave them a state-guaranteed market. Strange, the sick are not required by law to consult doctors and the injured are not compelled to employ lawyers to seek redress, but most companies are required to have a financial audit by an accountant, even though they deliver little.In our fast changing 24×7 digitized world, the fruits of their labor, audited financial statements, are “too little, too late” and “too expensive”.
  2. The Future Predictors Smile: Management Accountants
    Management accounting or managerial accounting is concerned with the provisions and use of accounting information to managers within organizations, to provide them with the basis to make informed business decisions that will allow them to be better equipped in their management and control functions.In contrast to financial accountancy information, management accounting information is:
    1. primarily forward-looking, instead of historically
    2. model based with a degree of abstraction to support decision making generically, instead of case based;
    3. designed and intended for use by managers within the organization, instead of being intended for use by shareholders, creditors, and public regulators;
    4.usually confidential and used by management, instead of publicly reported;
    5. computed by reference to the needs of managers, often using management information systems, instead of by reference to general financial accounting standards.

Both kinds run around in circles


The Accounting Cycle  brings a lot of recurring activities. It’s a very repetitive processes.  Lots of manual effort, which crowds out the opportunity to think.

Both kinds basically use the same data


Accountants use expensive CAAT software with a steep learning curve from companies like ACL or Case Ware International’s IDEA when they are confronted with the limitation of Excel  on 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns.

PowerPivot doesn’t have that limitation and DAX allows you to do everything and probably more than that they can. For examples visit

DAX offers fabulous “Create Once, Use Many Times” possibilities. Just read Rob’s excellent blog on Portable Formulas.

Both kinds excel in …Excel!

Excel is their ‘All in One Tool’, their ‘Swiss Army Knife’, their ‘Number Crunching Buddy’, their ‘Accounting Data Analysis Tool’. They use it frequently, every working day.

An End to Kindergarten Cut and Paste Smile

For both kinds PowerPivot is a great timesaver, no more manual copy & paste for them. “Copy-and-Paste” is error-prone and time-consuming. It is not Intelligent content gathering.

“Refresh,” on the other hand, IS Intelligent content gathering and very efficient unless one is billing by the hour. Cut and paste is for kindergarten kids, not for accountants.

Adapt or Die, Embrace Powerpivot: Big Data and digital technologies are strategic priorities for each knowledge-intensive service. Change is the only constant. Companies that do not adapt die out like dinosaurs. It’s not just the economic crisis.