Too Many Spreadsheets?

By Enabliser Anne

From the earliest spreadsheets, if you remember as far back as VisiCalc, business people have had an enduring love affair with spreadsheets. They free us from calculators, give us so much control and flexibility and can be changed and re-used easily. With complex functions and charts and pivot tables and macros, a spreadsheet is one of the most brilliant fundamentals of business life.

Like many good things, can we have too many? Can the brilliance of spreadsheets blind us to the alternatives, perhaps better ones?  Good accounting and ERP systems have their own reporting and analysis tools - so you won’t need so many spreadsheets, with the risks of relying on flawed data due to a data entry mistake or wrong formula when a column was added or formulae pasted.

There are alternatives, such as automating some of your reporting and analysis.  If you’re still relying on an entry level accounting package, jumping to the next level will give you a quantum leap in what you can do.  If the standard report doesn’t give the information you require, must you export it to a spreadsheet each month to supply the information you require? Or keep inventory information on spreadsheets, including multiple serial numbers or bin locations? Or manage foreign currency transactions? It’s less efficient, gives you double handling of data entry and is not available to other users.   There is a better way. You don’t have to rely on all those spreadsheets, the problem has been solved.

A good Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) solution for accounting, inventory management, manufacturing has built in features to handle these routine needs and provide a level of automation for recurring reports. And if you require more depth of analysis, there are advanced reporting and analysis tools where you can slice and dice your data, adding and removing dimensions with a mouse click, showing high level views or detailed granular views. One of these is Orchid Info-Explorer. With a look and feel similar to a spreadsheet, it is a dynamic analysis tool which frees you from multiple reports and spreadsheets because the user can control what data is in view – backed up by in memory computing. It is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool that is intuitive, easy to learn, and user-friendly too.

Spreadsheets have an essential place in the business world, and so do ERP and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for the time saving, efficiency and insights they provide to business.

For more information or to speak to an Enabling Trusted Advisor click here

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