Has Your Business Outgrown Excel Spreadsheets?—Here’s How to Tell

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Like most businesses, you probably started your financial forecasting in an Excel budget template. Whether it’s familiarity, convenience, or another reason, Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets have proven to be a reliable go-to accounting software for small and medium-sized enterprises.

If you are still using Excel spreadsheets for your data collection and financial management tasks, you are not alone. However, there comes a time when the rudimentary solution offered by Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet won’t be able to meet your complex needs. Such as financial management, planning, budgeting, and forecasting of advanced business enterprises. 

Many SMEs have already outgrown the Excel spreadsheet, but they haven’t noticed yet. Here are five surefire signs that your business has outgrown excel spreadsheets for budgeting. If you relate to these issues, you are probably ready for a dedicated budgeting and planning solution, such as NetSuite:

1. Longer Hours of Budgeting Processes than Usual

Managing budgets in Microsoft Excel usually involve manual entry. Lots of manual entry. It starts with downloading financial data, cutting and pasting the data into the correct format across multiple Excel files. The process would continue with rolling up data, updating formulas and forecasts, creating actual vs. budget reports, and emailing files. Between all of those tasks, you might find yourself working late and canceling dinner to keep up.

accountant managing excel budget template

Still, that doesn’t guarantee an accurate financial forecast. Last-minute changes to Excel spreadsheets are dangerous because it’s easy to forget to update a formula or link previously used. However, with more dedicated accounting software for small businesses like NetSuite, you can streamline your planning, increase collaboration, and run a more strategic accounting process. 

2. Difficulty in Consolidating Cumbersome Data

Excellent financial management and budgeting procedure involves the ability to merge relevant data across the different departments of an organization. Executive decision-makers need to access all the business data recorded by each department and pull up-to-date information for forecasting. While this task can be easily done with a single click of the mouse, it may take several hours or even days with an Excel spreadsheet, especially if there are data silos between departments.

excel spreadsheets excel budget template

With professional accounting software like NetSuite, you can access all the company’s data with a single click of the mouse. NetSuite is integrated across every department, automatically collecting data from all operations within a single interface. Due to NetSuite’s user transparency, you would be able to know who clicked or changed certain data and when. This allows for timely data consolidation when preparing financial statements or budgeting. 

3. Several Saved Version of a File 

Excel budget templates are manually collected, prepared, and shared. This means sending out many spreadsheet versions over time, which would result in having a lot of versions of certain data information. When this happens, it’s easy for an employee to mistakenly update the wrong or outdated version of a data file. Without version control, you may end up with errors while doing your budgeting. 

save file icons

At the very least, an error in your data forecast results in wasted time. However, an unnoticed error could lead your business the wrong way due to incorrect calculations of key metrics resulting from updating a wrong data file. Mistakes like this reduce the confidence of the board and CFOs on your analysis and predictions, resulting in unpleasant decisions. However, switching to a more dedicated planning and budgeting solution like NetSuite can automate the process and eliminate repetitive version errors.

4. Limited Collaboration 

Imagine having an urgent planning, forecasting, or budgeting task to complete. The only problem is that the only employee who knows how it works on Excel is on leave. Or worse, what if that particular employee no longer works at your organization? Imagine the cost and business risks of having someone new diagnose and update the models. That’s just one of the potential pitfalls.

limited collaboration

Transferring Excel spreadsheets back and forth from the only excel-literate employee to other employees can result in omission errors or transposition errors. However, the limited collaboration and lack of audit trails that come with Excel can be eliminated by a simple accounting software for small businesses, like NetSuite. When you shift your financial management systems to NetSuite, you have a solution that enables you to define models that always run on the data you generated from your budgets, plans, and actuals. 

5. Consistent Delay in Reporting 

If you are like most businesses that do their reporting on a monthly basis with an Excel spreadsheet, chances are you are being faced with a constant delay in reporting to begin operations for the consecutive month. This can happen frequently since the procedures involved in Excel are more mostly manual. 

consistent delay in reporting

Manually, the process involves downloading the unformatted financial data from your accounting software to a CSV file and carrying out a repetitive cutting and pasting data entry into the Excel spreadsheet to rolling up the data and then sending out the spreadsheet to every relevant team. By the time the data is ready, a deadline has most likely been missed, delaying strategic and operational decisions. On the other hand, NetSuite ERP integrates with your in-house financial software, helping you update your actuals automatically while sending reports and metrics to your business’s different stakeholders as soon as they request it.

What’s the Solution? 

If you are experiencing these symptoms or receiving related complaints, it means your business has outgrown the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. Don’t panic! There is a solution. The continuous advances in technology have brought superior accounting and financial management solutions like NetSuite’s Cloud accounting software. By integrating this solution with your existing accounting software, you can streamline your budgeting and planning process at a cost-friendly rate.

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