As a business owner or manager, you may find your operations
divided between a number of spreadsheets. Everything from accounts and
budgeting to staff records and appointments, all needing to be
constantly updated to avoid incomplete records or missing out on work
There are a number of ways in which spreadsheets are an imperfect tool
for running a company, even a small business with a handful of staff.
You might find spreadsheets to be satisfactory in terms of keeping up
with work, but you should still consider whether a faster more flexible
option is more suitable for you. If your business is growing, then the
complexity involved in a higher turnover or product selection could make
implementing an alternative necessary.
Even though spreadsheets can automatically calculate figures, allowing
for quite complex tasks, the original information is entered by human
users. Data entry, or copying and pasting from other sources can lead to
errors, that even if they start small, cause major problems further down
the line. One wrong figure for a price or percentage applied over and
over again in multiple calculations has the potential to lead to high
costs and headaches.
If you have large spreadsheets with thousands of rows and columns, it’s
clear to see how fraudulent entries and changes could be made without
anybody noticing. As there is no standard way to alert you when
something is out of place, or a chronological log of changes, details
could be altered significantly without you being any the wiser. To spot
anything amiss, lengthy and expensive auditing procedures may have to be
Superficially, spreadsheets have similarities to databases, but are
lacking important features of the latter in many respects. Relationships
between different tables in a database can be established, allowing for
complex queries to be run, to produce detailed statistics and records.
Mass updates to large tables can be made with the right queries.
Programming skills are required, but the flexibility and range of
operations available far surpass a spreadsheet based solution.
Spreadsheets are not ideally suited for collaboration. Problems arise
when multiple copies of what are supposed to be the same spreadsheet are
kept and updated separately on the hard drives of a number of users.
This inevitably leads to confusion and poor record keeping. Even with
the rise of cloud based spreadsheet solutions like Google Sheets, that
allow collaborative updates in real time, it is hard to discern who
entered what and when.
Even though a spreadsheet can be password protected, there are a lack of
more sophisticated security features such as different employee access
levels, or two-factor authentication. The practice of emailing
spreadsheets between staff and clients leaves large security gaps,
especially in the age of large scale hacks and advanced malware. Many
viruses have been distributed through spreadsheet files, causing major
problems for large organisations. Ideally, you want a method of updating
data with accessibility and security, without compromising on either.
Make the switch
SwiftCase is a centralised, cloud-based business management process
platform that allows for secure, flexible access to information. Update
records in real-time as you work, without having to enter the same data
over and over again.
If you’re interested in the business growth and productivity benefits
that come from moving on from spreadsheets and other documents, get in
touch for a free, no obligation demonstration today.