How Do You Know Whether or Not to Keep Using Excel?
You’ll often read articles describing Excel as an outdated tool for managing business processes. If you’re still using Excel in your business and you like the way it works, that probably seems like an odd description. What’s going on to make so many people dislike Excel when so many others think it’s a great tool?
While there are many great uses for Excel’s spreadsheet tools, the program has limitations. Trying to manage your company’s financial processes in Excel will stretch the program past its intended application.
In this article, we’ll look at signs that can help you figure out whether to keep using Excel or if it’s time to try a different process. We’ll also discuss how Business Process Automation (BPA) software can provide a more effective way to manage important financial processes.
What’s Wrong with Excel?
There are good reasons companies use Excel. It’s the most recognizable spreadsheet tool out there. People feel comfortable using it, and if you’re working between multiple companies using different ERPs, Excel can provide common ground. Excel uses a common format for sharing file types and working with data. It also allows users to perform complex calculations and offers flexible options for presenting results.
However, Excel does have its limits and downsides. For example, it’s not designed as a system for managing a company’s capital projects. When Excel is stretched beyond its capabilities, it can become a liability for your company rather than an asset. There’s also a high risk of errors creeping into your data, particularly the longer your company uses Excel.
Signs It’s Time to Move on From Excel
If you’re still using Excel in your company and it’s working well, then there probably isn’t much reason to change. But if you’re starting to notice limits and challenges, then you’ll want to look for an alternative way to handle your business processes.
Your Business is Growing
As far as using Excel for financial processes goes, Excel works best on a small scale. Small businesses often find that Excel works great for them, especially when they’re first starting out. In a new small business, you’re usually starting with small data sets and simpler business processes than large companies face. You also have fewer people entering data, which reduces the risk of human error.
If your company starts growing, however, it becomes harder to handle the more complex business processes with only Excel. You might also struggle to process large sets of data and catch errors when entering information. The problems become particularly noticeable when trying to coordinate across multiple offices where different employees have their own spreadsheets for managing similar data.
You’re Noticing Errors
Excel relies heavily on manual processing. People enter and manage data personally. This is one reason that Excel spreadsheets contain errors. Once you’re working with a large enough set of data, there isn’t a question of whether spreadsheets have errors. It’s a question of how many errors sneaked in. Most of these errors come from simple, honest mistakes. They’re still damaging for a company, though.
Manually entering financial data simply isn’t a great way to keep it clean and accurate. In addition, Excel files are not a good way to securely store data. Even with password protection, spreadsheets can be hacked in a matter of minutes. Securely encrypting information is not possible with Excel.
Manual Processes Are Too Cumbersome
As businesses grow larger and your company handles more data, it becomes harder and harder to manage financial processes manually. In addition to being near impossible to eliminate errors, it’s challenging in Excel to keep track of who inputs data.
When you’re using Excel, it’s also difficult to figure out if the data is in its final version, especially if there are multiple copies of the same file. Once the integrity of data becomes questionable and you’re struggling to reconcile file versions, it’s time to find a solution other than Excel.
Try Business Process Automation Instead
If Excel isn’t working for everything you need any more, BPA software provides both a solution and an upgrade. Since BPA software is designed to streamline specific business processes, it’ll be much easier to work with than trying to get Excel to do something it wasn’t designed for. The tools in quality BPA software give you increased control over financial processes while making them much easier to manage.
Easy to Scale
As your company continues to grow, BPA software easily scales to your company’s needs. Your software supplier takes care of any technology upgrades needed to keep up with your company’s growth. With NextProcess, you pay for what you use so there are no worries about overspending if you have a slower month or about your software not being able to keep up when business is booming.
Accurate and Secure
You’ll have a lot more control over the accuracy of data if you’re scanning information to an automation system rather than inputting it manually to spreadsheets. For example, NextProcess’s AP Software module offers Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Data Capture to ensure over 99% accuracy when capturing information on every invoice. Our systems also include state-of-the-art digital security to store your important financial data safely.
Automation streamlines your business processes and makes managing high volume and complex data much easier than a manual system. You can customize automation settings, and we’ll help you set up your software to automatically enforce your company policies. Once AP software is fully implemented, for example, you could be auto-processing up to 90% of your invoices.
You can automate an individual process like accounts payable or use the same software supplier to automate multiple processes. There are many benefits to using a suite of automation programs to get your financial processes working together. For example, if you automate accounts payable and purchasing with NextProcess, you can easily move between the software systems to see matching invoices and purchase orders.
Excel was a great tool for many businesses, but it can’t do everything. If you’re interested in using BPA software for efficient, accurate, secure, and streamlined financial processing, contact NextProcess today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and set up a free demonstration so you can see our software in action.