For the purpose of creating custom financial and business management solutions that solve your identified problems, and give you control/ownership, without burning a hole in your pocket, Excel VB offers an amazing variety of possibilities, in the hands of an adequately skilled user.
The visiting head of the technical function only needed to look at the most recently plotted point on the chart (relative to preceding ones) for a Key Performance Indicator like. Cost per Hectolitres brewed(One Hectolitre = 100 Litres), to know if the brewery had stayed within the approved upper limit of spend(plotted as a straight line target across the same period) or not. Discussions would then take place based on identified "Exceptions"(which could be "good" e.g. savings made or "bad" e.g. monetary loss due to materials over_used), and "Actions To Be Taken" to correct or maintain observed performances agreed upon.
From this point on, I will refer to only one of the above mentioned applications, because it is my preferred work environment. That is Microsoft Excel. I believe users of other spreadsheet applications will be able to adapt whatever I say from here for use in their own peculiar environments.
So, (when considering the automation I speak about) do not think about spreadsheet documents containing one or two click_able buttons that allow a user print a page or copy some cells from one sheet to another. Instead, I want you to picture an application(or Entreprise Information System) that customises the appearance of your spreadsheet workspace(to take advantage of maximum screen capital available on your PC), and offers you custom "floating" data entry forms.