Spreadsheets: Has Your Business Outgrown Them?

12 May 2020

A quick guide on when and how to move from spreadsheets to a software solution.

Spreadsheets are flexible, widely available, and have little to no upfront cost to obtain and use, which is why many businesses begin on or continue to use spreadsheets to track employee training, compliance, and other data. Spreadsheets are often a good initial solution for businesses that are just getting started with training and compliance tracking. However, once the business grows and its systems and processes become more complex, spreadsheets often stop helping and instead make life more difficult. This month, we’re uncovering the top five ways to tell if your business has outgrown spreadsheets and what you can do about it.

Spreadsheet Errors are Costing You Money

Various studies report that nearly 9 out of 10 spreadsheets contain significant errors or about 88% of all spreadsheets. Furthermore, a majority of these errors are caused by humans, meaning the majority, if not all, of these errors, could have been avoided. Though spreadsheet software provides an easy-to-use data entry platform, the chances of making an error are just as easy.

These errors can have a big financial and professional impact on many large businesses, such as the “London Whale” incident with JP Morgan. Due to several faulty equations in a spreadsheet and incorrectly copying and pasting a large number of cells, JP Morgan underestimated the downside of its synthetic credit portfolio, which ultimately led to the bank suffering approximately $6.5 billion in losses and fines. Though your losses may not be quite as significant as JP Morgan’s, losses are still losses. Even if errors are not directly translating to a monetary loss, the time and effort spent fixing them still equates to lost time, which could have been spent elsewhere.

You Spend Hours Reporting

Time is money, right? When you have a business to run, the last thing you want to be spending large amounts of time on is data entry. The monotonous task of entering in data, and verifying the data is correct, can be a big-time suck. Not to mention a recipe for accidental errors. Instead, the time spent reporting could be used more efficiently, like making a sale. When there are more effective and simple reporting tools out there, like the Training Tracker software that keeps your staff up to date and your business compliant, the switch is a no brainer.

Too Much Access / Version Overload is Causing Confusion

Are there multiple people at your organization who need access to the company spreadsheet(s)? If access is given to everyone or even a select few, things can quickly become confusing and overwhelming when multiple people access and make edits to a single spreadsheet. It can be difficult to track down errors and stay on top of changes made.

Or, when changes are made, do employees tend to create a new version of the spreadsheet to use? If not all employees know to work on the new version, information can be lost, errors can be made, and confusion will likely ensue.

You Worry About Data Security

Online programs are often built with firewalls and other forms of protection to combat hackers and prying eyes. Spreadsheets, like Excel, do not offer the same protection within your organization. Sharing the spreadsheet via email makes your sensitive information even more vulnerable, as you lose control over who can view it, and how they use it.

Spreadsheets Can No Longer Meet Your Needs

This one speaks for itself; as your company grows, your needs will inevitably grow too. Though spreadsheets provide an array of formulas, it can’t do everything. Software like Training Tracker puts you in control of your data and enables your company to make business calculations in a way that spreadsheets cannot. From Training Tracker, you can fulfill employee, training, and completion requests with easily created reports, and you can export the data to generate detailed graphs and charts.

In addition, Training Tracker is designed to track data so you can easily demonstrate your compliance now, and make projections. With a few clicks and added desired date range, you can see what training requirements are needed in the next month, quarter or year to optimize a plan for the future, something spreadsheets can’t do.

If even one of these five indicators describes your current situation, you may want to consider switching to a platform that supports your growing needs. If you’re looking for a simple, easy to use solution to track employee training, comply with regulatory requirements, and improve quality assurance, try Training Tracker free for 14 days, or schedule a demo with our CEO, Jen Remsik.