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4 Reasons to Stop using Excel for Budgeting and Planning

Many companies, even those with established systems for other business functions, still rely on excel when it comes to their budgeting and planning needs. This often means a drawn-out planning period, constant updating of formulas and versions and ultimately a lot of wasted time that could be used on getting your plans in motion rather than just written down. 

  1. Time Consuming Process
    Because you need to manually add data from multiple sources, trying to plan in Excel can become tedious and time wasting. Data needs to be mined from old excels, emails, and ledgers, then checked and re-checked for accuracy. On top of that, if you don't keep a detailed record of where each statistic came from, then you risk calculations that are inconsistent or unclear down the road. The best way to avoid planning inconsistencies and to implement a faster planning process is to find a software that pulls all of your data together automatically into customized reports and dashboards so that it's clear to everyone involved where each piece of information originated and how it has been used in forecasting and planning.  
  2. Version Issues
    Businessman being depressed by accounting in his officeSharing Excel documents is not intuitive and sharing is often done manually via email. Although online portals like Smartsheet and Google Docs might help negate issues with versions they are much more limited in their ability to handle complex calculations and multi-sheet books. How many times have you sent out a budget for review only to be sent back changes from multiple users, each on their own version of the document. Now you need to reconcile the changes into a new version, taking even more time out of an already hectic period. These kind of headaches are par for the course when planning with Excel but they don't need to be part of your process. Implementing up-to-date planning software allows everyone to work on the same version in real-time, allowing you to spend your extra time on something more productive than copying and pasting cells. 
  3. Formula Errors
    You painstakingly wrote out your formulas, referenced other sheets, and double checked data, only to see the dreaded #VALUE!, #NAME?, #REF! appear in your cell. Along with the difficulty of sharing an Excel document across your company, allowing so many people to make changes to the same document, moving and formatting cells, along with the notoriously finicky formulas that Excel relies on can leave  you in calculation purgatory. Alternatives to Excel for planning like Adaptive Insights paired with an integrated ERP system like Sage Intacct, use built-in calculators that ensure that you're getting the correct results, the first time, every time. 
  4. Updates get lost in the mail
    Then there's always "that guy" who sends you last minute comments on a previous version, even after you've made the changes and sent out your updates. Relying on email to disperse your budgeting and planning spread sheets is unreliable. It forces recipients to dig back through old messages to find the latest version of the document  and often ends in you sending out the most up-to-date version again and again. Maintaining a central file inside your company's ERP system with native permission levels to safeguard private data keeps everyone on the same page and your sanity intact. 

So why with all of these distinct painful issues occurring every time your team tries to budget do so many teams still use Excel? Many managers believe the cost of adoption of a new system will be too high and with over 2/3 of ERP system implementation resulting in failure, their fears aren’t unfounded. Fortunately your team doesn’t need to go it alone. There are value added partners like RKL eSoltuions to be found from coast-to-coast, who are able to help your team implement, tailor and train on your new system in time for your next yearly budgeting cycle.

RKL eSolutions offers a variety of solutions from end-to-end ERP systems to add on software that will allow your team to move from passive, spreadsheet-based planning into active, dynamic planning within an integrated business system.

Laura Atkins

Written by Laura Atkins

Laura is a Marketing Manager at RKL eSolutions, specializing in Digital Media and Content Marketing.