Love it or hate it, Microsoft Excel is still a pretty entrenched piece of software for most businesses. And for good reason. When you stop and think about it, you realize Excel is a lot like an old family friend. It’s hard working. Pretty reliable. But maybe not 100% living in modern times. This post will take a look at Excel in a modern context and will show you why so many companies are moving away from it.
First, the good. For what it’s designed to do, it’s fine. You don’t need to leverage your IT department in order to create a spreadsheet. A lot of companies have their separate accounting and ERP systems, and then run everything else on Excel, so there’s definitely a time and a place for it. It’s really the only tool businesses can use outside of getting IT involved or hiring an outside programmer. Excel adequately fills all these gaps in process in organizations.
And here’s why it’s not so good. We stumbled upon this article recently, and some of what it had to say really jumped out at us. Check out this excerpt:
“Finance chiefs say the ubiquitous spreadsheet software that revolutionized accounting in the 1980s hasn’t kept up with the demands of contemporary corporate finance units. Errors can bloom because data in Excel is separated from other systems and isn’t automatically updated.
Older versions of Excel don’t allow multiple users to work together in one document, hampering collaboration. There is also a limit to how much data can be pulled into a single document, which can slow down analysis.”
That really summarizes a lot of Excel’s current shortcomings. The bottom line: it’s not a workflow system, and you can’t trigger tasks going to people based on actions. With today’s dynamic, collaborative business environment, you need a tool that can help you differentiate lines with multiple people tracking information at once. It also needs to be responsive to people holding more than one role and who need to use information in slightly different ways. Finally, think about the need to restrict access to data — Excel isn’t as safe as people think it is. At the end of the day, Excel simply can’t check any of these boxes to function in a modern setting.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should delete Excel. But the points above do show what you need to have when you’re going beyond a quick spreadsheet. More and more companies are picking up on Excel’s shortcomings and are embracing options somewhere in the middle. Like Quick Base, for example. It provides what you need to build in more robust features in workflow that Excel doesn’t offer without needing a large IT workforce. In the end, the flexibility of Quick Base helps keep the power in your business.
If you have any questions about the role Excel currently plays in your business, don’t be afraid to reach out. We’re always happy to chat about ways Quick Base can help your business run better.