What Should You Not Use Spreadsheets For?

January 11, 2017 By


Spreadsheets are at the heart of most organizations. Convenient, flexible and developed to cater to complex calculations, the adulation spreadsheets receive is easily justified. Yet, they are quite not the ‘one stop solution’ they are made out to be.

As a part of the managerial process, spreadsheets are getting increasingly misused, since they were never really conceived to serve nuanced purposes. When stretched beyond their capacity they can cost you time, resources and an overall reduction of efficiency. If you, as an organization are plagued by poor levels of efficiency, it is a good idea to replace spreadsheets with some of the dedicated tools we have listed here:

1. Financial reporting

Why not?

Financial reports consist of large scale, sensitive data and storing such data in spreadsheets comes with risks like file corruption or significant exposure to external threats. Since multiple versions get invariably created, having to shunt between them in order to correct errors is both inconvenient and time consuming. Spreadsheets, moreover do not to scale up like your organization does. Thus, you will notice that the same set of tasks get more and more complicated as your team expands.

What are the alternatives?

Deltek Costpoint lets you manage project accounting, labor management, manufacturing and business intelligence solutions at one go. Software like SlickPie (free tool) and idu-Concept offer great budgeting and accounting solutions as well!

2. Recording Purchase orders

Why not?

Imagine mixing up between the orders you received or placing orders for the wrong set of raw materials only because you entered the wrong serial number in the spreadsheets. Large scale logistic errors that concern international shipments, not only lead to a financial drain but can also cause a breach in credibility. Given the fact that such errors are unavoidable while dealing with a multitude of purchase orders; you will do yourself a favor by opting out of spreadsheets. Choose an exclusive procurement software that does not suck time and lets you to outline requests and approvals.

What are the alternatives?

Procurify, for example, offers a clear audit trail and real-time visibility into your company’s spending at all times. Aestiva Purchase Order, Apptivo Work Orders are dedicated software too.

3. Database

Why not?

Spreadsheets are not equipped to serve as enterprise-wide databases. While a designated database allows you to assign authority for individual users to alter information in varying degrees, with spreadsheets, getting data alterations right between multiple owners can be very cumbersome. Additionally, spreadsheet users have to analyse and build reports from scratch which can get very redundant.

What are the alternatives?

If you do not want to opt for big players like Oracle or Microsoft, a software like Teradata could be an affordable solution to all the database woes you may have. You could also opt for software like Zoho Creator or Sisense.

4. Editorial Calendar

Why not?

Spreadsheets’ limitations in forging collaboration between multiple users or allowing seamless error rectification can be massive deterrents in building successful editorial calendars. Content segregation get tedious and increases the chances of publishing wrong content. If you are an organization that is heavily invested in content marketing, you will need a dedicated editorial tool with calendars, dictionary and alerts.

What are the alternatives?

While Hubspot is one of the most popular tools for automating your marketing and editorial calendars, you can also opt for solutions like Coschedule and Autopilot depending on your budget and requirement.

5. Resource Management

Why not?

From time sucks that add up to a major “invisible expense” to snowballing logistical problems, spreadsheets pose very serious threats to resource management. Given how even the slightest of schedule changes can play havoc if miscommunicated, you are multiplying the risk by opting to use spreadsheets. Further, requirements can change and making sure that the right person is allotted a right task is instrumental to quality delivery. Spreadsheets are not designed to forecast workload and force you to resort to last minute hires/fires as demands vary.

What are the alternatives?

Bid adieus to your scheduling nightmares with our intuitive tool, Saviom. We not only make scheduling effortless and quick, but also help you maximize your utilization levels and cost-efficiency.

Spreadsheets are ideal for personal use or when minimum collaboration is required. Although investing on customized software for specific purposes may sound like a capital intensive approach, the increase in productivity levels will testify the fact that opting out of spreadsheets is the way forward in the digital age.

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Emma Kurt

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