Are you in one of those companies where there’s a spreadsheet for everything? Financial statements? Yep. Got a spreadsheet for that. Fixed Assets? No problem. Been keeping those in a spreadsheet for years! Sales reports? Check. Bank Reconciliation – it’s easier to do that in a spreadsheet anyway, right?
What’s wrong with this? Nothing, except it makes you forever dependent on people and not systems. Ever try to get a spreadsheet from a person on vacation? Ever get a spreadsheet where the totals didn’t match another report from your system? Oops. Forgot to change a formula in there. Ever get told it will take an extra week to produce information because a spreadsheet has to be built for it?
Sometimes we get so used to using spreadsheets as a solution that we forget to ask even basic questions about our primary software. Is there a report in the software that already produces that information? Is there a module that we can add? Is there an easy custom report that can produce the data straight from our software’s core database? Is there different software we can be using that can give us better reporting out of the box? If you can produce the report from your core software, you save yourself time and gain loads of accuracy and efficiencies in the long run. We had one Sage MAS 90 client producing an invoice list in a spreadsheet for years until we had a conversation and showed them the Invoice History Report on the Accounts Receivable Reports Menu. Walla! (not sure of the spelling of this word, but you get the idea)
I’m not against a quick spreadsheet for a one-time analysis of something. However, for ongoing report requirements, strive to make progress and have the system do it whenever possible. Rely on your software and move forward.