Everyone uses spreadsheets because they are flexible and have a multi-purpose nature. But they are not always the best tool for the job. Spreadsheets can be helpful tools to organize and sort data. But their simplicity of design and flexibility can also pose their own drawbacks.
Take this metaphor, for instance: When you cook a sit-down meal for your family, it’s a simple, straightforward affair. You just have to plan the ingredients for one meal and make sure it’s enough to feed your family.
Similarly, when you use a spreadsheet for your finance department, you can perform the most basic tasks easily but to measure more complex calculations is a time-consuming exercise and often difficult. You also lack the ability to analyze trends and integrate data from other departments. Spreadsheets are a simple solution designed for a small-scale exercise or business.
Compare that to cooking in a busy restaurant or chain of restaurants, where you’d have to factor in the larger space, increased number of customers, and other issues such as employee schedules means you need a more powerful tool. Spreadsheets simply aren’t equipped to handle the multiple calculations and data you’d need to be able to run a large-scale business like this efficiently.
1: bring all the ingredients into one place
When running a restaurant, the chefs need to be able to collaborate on the menu, understand what needs to be done, and view the number of customers and what they all want to eat. Similarly, when you’re running a business with multiple departments, you need a single source of truth so that everyone can understand at a glance what’s going on.
This single source of truth is also more inclusive for your entire staff—whether they’re in finance, sales or purchasing. Modern financial, planning and analysis solutions are designed to offer accessible and meaningful data that all team members can understand. That leads to better collaboration and increased buy-in for decisions since people across all department get to see the data behind operational and financial performance.
2: storage of all key and incidental data goods
Spreadsheets can work for limited amounts of data, but it can be difficult to glean insights unless you spend a lot of time manually adding other data and running the calculations. Also, spreadsheets can be easily prone to errors, especially when people are frequently circulating outdated versions via email throughout the company.
When you use a modern financial reporting & analysis solution, you can protect your data and ensure that the available information is updated in real-time. In a restaurant, you need the right data to plan effectively and make sure you have enough food and wine for every customer. In a business, you need a strong data solution that allows you to see all of your essential data from other departments at a glance, with real-time updates that ensure that you’re viewing the most accurate and timely information you need for decision-making.
3: more productive, more customers
A busy, fast-paced business is similar to a restaurant. Both settings demand a high level of service and the need for collaboration. When you can find a tool that serves complex needs and enables higher productivity and collaboration, the business can run much more smoothly.
Modern solutions like Phocas’s budgeting solution also allow you to visualize data in different ways and provide opportunities for more detailed analysis. This exercise could take hours to complete in a spreadsheet and could still end up not doing all the tasks you need to. Instead of spending time on costly manual entry, your team can focus on more value-added exercises like generating profit.
Whereas spreadsheets can be useful in many different scenarios, we created the Phocas suite of financial products with financials and budgeting solely in mind. This focus has helped us to respond to the needs of our customers’ businesses, allow for collaboration, and provide insights for quicker, data-driven decisions.
To find out more about how you can upgrade your financial spreadsheets, download our ebook, Stop running your business on spreadsheets alone.