Why Spreadsheet Reporting is Bad for Business

Why Spreadsheet Reporting is Bad for Business

Why Spreadsheet Reporting is Bad for Business

Just about every business today uses spreadsheets in reporting, despite not being the right tool for the job. In fact, there are several reasons why spreadsheet reporting can be bad for your business and why you should consider the alternatives right now.

“What’s wrong with spreadsheet reporting?” I hear you ask. Quite a lot, actually.

Spreadsheets are designed primarily as an accounting tool, to digitally represent worksheets. They arenotthe versatile, multi-purpose solution that all-too-many business professionals mistake them to be.

In fact, businesses’ over-reliance on spreadsheets for processes like reporting is a well-documented problem, with expensive inaccuracies. There are numerous reasons why, but let’s focus on some of the key ones first.

Spreadsheets rely heavily on manual input, and human error is an obvious element of risk. Various studies over the years show that almost 90% of spreadsheets out there have errors, some creating financial discrepancies of billions – that’s right,billions.

Despite the costliness of potential errors, only a fraction of users are trained or experienced enough to leverage them properly. Those that are trained would know that they’re rarely even the right tool for the job. With such a high margin for error in spreadsheets as a reporting tool, how can you fully trust the answers you’re gathering?

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It’s simply time-consuming having to manually fill out hundreds of little cells, copying and pasting information from one sheet to the other and producing clumsy, ineffectual reports. Duplication of data is a frequent occurrence, requiring yet more time to fix if it’s even spotted at all. For so many companies this sort of process is conducted weekly, meaning a scheduled routine of time-wasting that few can afford.

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In fairness, this has been improved marginally through adoption of cloud-based platforms where you can better maintain a single copy of the spreadsheet – the all important “single version of the truth”. However, even with cloud-based spreadsheets, it’s tricky to govern how users input the data.

 



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