Are you one of those still using Excel spreadsheets for work, even though they’re clunky and can’t automate tasks? Maybe you’re a little nervous about learning something new. Remember when the transition to smart phones seemed intimidating too? Pretty laughable now! What if Excel itself is the biggest factor limiting your performance and productivity? What if Excel is that Nokia flip phone you thought was everything you needed in a cell? If you never break the addiction, you’ll never know how much better off you can be without it! Here are the 8 biggest ways Excel could be hurting your business:
No Quality Check
Spreadsheets don’t check the quality of data you enter. A database, on the other hand, provides controls such as field validation to reduce data entry errors. They can also prevent data duplication when instructed to do so.
Limited, Difficult Features
There is this lingering assumption that no specific skill or training is required to handle Excel. That’s just not true. Excel cannot go beyond data entry—calculations and charts require you to know how to use the correct formulae and functions. Pivot tables and dynamic charts are too complex to work with, unless you have a high skill level (like a VBA expert). Software solutions other than Excel can provide you with relevant and real-time information with data analysis capabilities–no coding required.
Looking for a Needle in a Haystack
This is such a hassle with Excel. Have you ever tried searching for any .xls file name on your hard drive? You are bombarded by innumerable files and this only worsens over a period of time. You can have a really hard time looking for time entries especially if you have them on multiple spreadsheets. You will have an even harder time finding something in the spreadsheet itself. Switching to software that uses a relational database with powerful searching capabilities can make work and maintenance very easy and fast.
Big Spreadsheets are Resource Hogs
Spreadsheets with lots of data can drain your computer resources. Say your spreadsheet contains 10,000 records—each time you open it, all those records load into the memory of your system, resulting in a slow machine. Not so with database driven software. For example, in BillQuick, you can use filters to view selective data for a date range, say time sheet of an employee for a week. It will load only the information you need into the RAM, thus saving your resources at any given time.
All or Nothing Security
The best you can do in Excel is a password-protection that locks the entire spreadsheet. So you either see a file or you don’t. With database driven software, you can set and assign different levels of security at a granular level. For example, BillQuick has pre-defined security profiles for users such as Time & Expense Only, Manager, Billing, etc. that allow selective access of screens, functions, reports and other data. Similarly, ArchiOffice has granular security permissions for each module per user.
One at a Time, Please
Spreadsheets do not allow multiple users working on them simultaneously. This one-at-a-time or single-user approach cannot keep pace with today’s work environment where teamwork is invaluable. Database-driven applications can handle multiple simultaneous users, without a problem.
An Excel spreadsheet displays all data irrespective of its audience or user requirements. On the contrary, software with a relational database can be programmed to display data based on your role and needs. Result? A project manager can see project-specific data while an accountant can see billing-specific data. Software programs like BillQuick go an extra mile and provide role-specific navigators and security profiles so you and your employees only see the information needed to do the job.
Lack of Support
Not everyone’s an expert when it comes to software applications. That’s why you rely on sound technical support and consulting service that understands your business well. However, you don’t get that luxury when using a spreadsheet program like Excel for specialized tasks such as time entry, billing, budgeting, etc. If you are a professional services firm, Excel simply cannot provide you with the business logic or expertise that specialized software can.
Bottom line: The people who still believe that a spreadsheet is to be used for anything involving numbers are unfortunately victims of outdated logic. While Excel is good for a single-person, basic job, the efficiency you can gain by switching to industry-specific software that reduces work time and mistakes is immeasurable. The end result is obvious savings in money, time and effort.
We feel your pain, which is why we make smart, friction-free solutions like BillQuick and ArchiOffice. BillQuick can even import your Excel data into the database, making the transition much easier. To learn more about our industry-specific time tracking, billing and project management solutions, click here.