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Guest Blog: Spreadsheet: is it a Friend or Foe?

Sally Poff 300 x 200

Sally Poff is the Operations Director at Milner Browne. She has extensive experience helping SMEs with the smooth transition from basic or out-dated software to affordable business management solutions.

For many SMEs the first piece of software they’ll use will be the humble spreadsheet. Easy to use, convenient to amend and ideal for small businesses searching to keep software costs down. But are these basic bookkeeping tools more of a help or a hindrance to small businesses?

Financial experts have been saying for years how spreadsheets are stalling the productivity of many start-ups due to their poor functionality, a lack of training and compatibility with mobile devices.

You see, spreadsheets are only as good as the person managing them. The infrastructure has to be initially built and content then has to be added, populated and then maintained to ensure documents are accurate. This is often a time consuming process – especially if individuals have no experience using the software.

Unlike a sophisticated ERP system – such as SAP Business One – spreadsheets do not automatically create invoices. Users have to go through the laborious task of copying and pasting information from one program to another. Although it’s possible to create invoices within spreadsheets, these often look basic and unprofessional.

Then there’s the issue around real-time data. Spreadsheets are only as informative as the content added to them – and the last time they were updated. It’s essential for SMEs to understand what’s going on at all times within their business to take advantage of certain situations or avoid future problems arising.

Issues also arise when multiple users access and work from one document – often resulting in work being lost without being saved correctly. Traditionally, spreadsheets don’t travel well either – especially on mobile devices. Users often complain about the functionality of programs, such as Excel, on modern tablet devices leaving them unable to work away from the office computer. In an ERP solution there’s a single source of data. Information is accurate. It’s instant and it’s reliable. In fact, it’s what every SME wants.

There’s no denying that spreadsheets are ideal for storing and tracking simple sets of data. However, with SMEs now searching for effective business management software, which is integrated across all departments and accessible in one place, the traditional spreadsheet may finally be resigned to history.

Find out how Milner Browne and SAP Business One can create an affordable business management solution that will help your company grow, expand and innovate here.

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