Are you one of those firms 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 way back when the transition to smartphones 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 before discovering the iPhone? If you never break the addiction, you’ll never know how much better off you can be without it.
The Cons of Using Excel Spreadsheets
Excel spreadsheets are well known because they’re widely available and we all know how to use them- to some extent. But if you’ve ever tried to manage multiple projects and teams on spreadsheets, you know the manual entries can get tiring very quickly.
Here are the 8 biggest ways Excel spreadsheets could be hurting your business:
No Quality Check
Excel 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 needed.
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 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 a project management 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.
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 do not. With database-driven software, you can set and assign various levels of security at a granular level. For example, BQE CORE has pre-defined profiles for users such as Time & Expense Only, Manager, Billing, etc. that allow selective access of screens, functions, reports and other data.
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.
Lack of Support
Not everyone is 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 an AE firm, Excel simply cannot provide you with the business logic or ability 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, such as BQE CORE, that reduces work time and mistakes is immeasurable. The end result is obvious savings in money, time and effort.
Try a Free Demo of BQE CORE
We feel your pain, which is why we make smart, friction-free solutions like BQE CORE. BQE CORE was created by architects and engineers, for architects and engineers, so, we understand how to help you transition from painful Excel spreadsheets into an easy-to-use yet innovative platform that simply makes your daily work quick and pain-free. Because CORE is created to make the AE industry projects more profitable, it’s great for other professional services as well. And to make life easier, CORE can even import your Excel data into the database, making the transition a breeze.
To learn more about our industry-specific time tracking, billing and project management solutions, try a free demo today.