Is Microsoft Excel still a useful business tool in today’s world?

While people might question if this 33-year-old tool is relevant, or if its the most functional and economical, you’re going to have to weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself. Take a few short minutes to understand how Excel can be your best friend, your worst enemy, and whether or not you need to make a change. 

excel spreadsheets pros and cons

The Pros

Professionals Who Depend on Excel

When it comes to using Excel, there are two kinds of users – those who like using this tool, and those who don’t. If you’re an accountant working in a medium-sized company, Excel might be your best friend. It sort of goes along with the job as reports and numbers can be generated through Excel. 

As long as these spreadsheets are used for smaller things, and your monthly forecasting or billing doesn’t rely on them, there shouldn’t be a problem. 

Data Managment on a Budget

Some small business owners lean on Excel to manage data because it fits within their budget. It’s an inexpensive, convenient tool that can provide a quick view of what’s going on in the business. 

“As a small business owner, I use Excel religiously as a cash flow spreadsheet. While reports may not be fully accurate, the numbers are close enough for me to make decisions. Also, having a set calculation where I can enter in different services, budgets, a profit margin, etc., let me know what I need to charge.” 

Free Templates for Every Purpose

Did you know that there are endless possibilities of pre-built worksheets that can do so many different things – for free? If you want a time-tracking tool, a billing tool, or a calendar, templates are easy to download and you don’t have to spend precious time reinventing the wheel. 

There are certainly more pros to using Excel. To learn more, check out “5 Benefits of Microsoft Excel” HERE

excel pros and consThe Cons

Is a CRM Better for Your Business?

To many, Excel is a crutch used to move data from place to place; however, by investing in a CRM platform, your business will have “clean” data and increased productivity. By implementing a CRM that is right for your business, you’re setting yourself up to play the long-game.  

Additionally, you don’t have to save your spreadsheet to your network in order to share it! Rather, if you’re using a CRM, you’re storing everything in the cloud and everyone can make modifications at the same time without going through a bunch of complicated hoops. Plus, there is no denying that a CRM is easier for users and visually appealing.

If you’d like to learn more about custom software and become the office hero, click HERE to read on.

Manual Data Entry = Compromised Information

As spreadsheets develop over time, the important details can become compromised. There is actually a MarketWatch Report stating 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. Ouch! It makes sense. When you’re cutting and pasting numbers, or you want to add a cell and need to start a formula from scratch, human error is bound to happen. That being said, how much can you trust that you’re getting accurate data? 

Back to Square One

One of the biggest, most common cons: Excel is not intuitive. For example, when the originator of the spreadsheet is no longer with the company, all of the knowledge about how to use that spreadsheet leaves with that person. It can truly be your worst enemy in this situation. 

“When I received a promotion and needed to start providing reports to our C-Level Executives, Excel tormented me! There was zero documentation on how to use the 5-year spreadsheet for my program. Only my former boss, who had created it, knew how to use it. I didn’t know if I should start everything over or just figure it out. I felt embarassed and it wasted a lot of company time.”

Business knowledge can’t live in a spreadsheet, only the facts and figures can. So, if you don’t have really good documentation of what the spreadsheet does, problems can arise. It isn’t a tool one can easily hand-off. In many cases, you can’t change it without going back to square one.

In an Excel Jam? We’ll Get You Out!

If you’re calling out for help and no one seems to be coming to the rescue, Ascend Technology can get you out of an Excel jam! Our experts can open up your spreadsheet, figure out what’s inside, and fix the problem. Sure, it might seem like there are a lot of cons to using spreadsheets, but if it serves your business well, it is designed to solve problems and can be a really good tool. 

On the flipside, if your entire business is relying on a single spreadsheet and sinking into a technology black hole, we might recommend investing in a different type of software. After all, Excel is just the tip of the iceberg! 

Click HERE to contact us today or reach us by phone (262-222-0400) if you’re stuck in an excel jam or have questions.