4 reasons spreadsheets aren't always the answer

4 reasons spreadsheets aren’t always the answer

If you’ve recently started working from home, you probably already know the stresses and strains of working with spreadsheets. Whilst they can be an effective way to manage information, they are not always the best solution to dealing with large sums of important data – which they’re often used for.

We completely understand how it’s done. We’ve all been there. You started an excel spreadsheet years ago, filled it with important information and now it’s become too big to stop adding to it. You need a new solution but you’re putting it off until the time is right.

If that sounds like you, here’s why you need to move away from spreadsheets and think about a more tailored solution for your business.

Spreadsheets aren’t always easy to share (especially if they’re big!)

If you’ve ever tried to share a spreadsheet, you’ll have noticed that the first issue you have is usually that the file is too big for most email providers. This can be a real pain and can make security an issue if you have to use a third party sharing platform to get the spreadsheet to other members of your team.

Once you have successfully shared it, you may have noticed that often the features of the spreadsheet won’t have pulled through – this is especially true for excel. Once the spreadsheet has been shared, often you can’t add features like conditional formatting, data validation, lists and pivot tables.

Whilst spreadsheets do allow you to create a shared workbook, they are often tricky to send and once they are sent, often things don’t work as they did before which can waste time and cause confusion.

Editing isn’t as easy as other platforms

Only one person can use most spreadsheets at once. Even in cloud-based spreadsheets, active edits can only be accessed by one person, which means that you could be doubling up on work or working from the wrong information due to a sharing delay. If you have remote workers who need to work collaboratively, or see data in real-time, then this can be an issue.

Spreadsheets are also harder to edit as they can’t be integrated into other systems for automatic updating. In short, editing spreadsheets is a lot trickier than having your own tailored platform or software that is specifically designed for the amount of people in your team. 

They’re vulnerable to errors

Spreadsheets rely on human experience, and this means one thing – human error. In fact, Oracle has estimated that 90% of spreadsheets have errors. Of course, in a spreadsheet with lots of data, one tiny mistake can cause a whole host of problems.

Spreadsheets make it easy for human errors to occur as their features like lack of check and balances make them harder to use than a system that is designed for the exact kind of information you are entered.

They’re very generic

Spreadsheets can be amazing tools for a variety of tasks, however if you have a specific business need they can hold your business back. Whilst your competitors might have different software systems for each individual task, if you’re using a spreadsheet to do everything it’s likely that you’re going to fall behind.

Spreadsheets are generic, which means that they can’t always manage your data as well as other systems. For example, it’s much more effective to use a contractor management software for contractor data, learning management systems for keeping track of employee training, and a risk register software instead of a spreadsheet with recorded incidents.

If you’re ready to start improving your business tools and moving away from spreadsheets to keep your compliance and safety on track, take a look at our software offering