Five Steps To Transform Your Spreadsheet Only Processes

If your enterprise heavily relies on spreadsheets for data collection and analysis, your business may need a new solution. The spreadsheet only process was an excellent tool in the 1980’s before technological advances and cloud-based performance management tools emerged.

The challenges businesses face today are numerous and complex, without dealing with the limitations of spreadsheet based solutions for performance management. Don’t misunderstand, spreadsheets still play an active role in most sectors for financial reporting and planning. However, there are unique risks, like the ones listed below, associated with total reliance on these tools:

  • Labor intensive
  • Prone to duplication and data entry errors
  • Poor data integration outcomes
  • Lack of access and version control
  • Difficulty producing accurate forecasting models and projections

Here are five reasons, your team should take another look at streamlining your workflow by leveraging existing spreadsheet tools with advanced-technology – specifically fully-integrated performance management tools that make budgeting, forecasting and strategic planning more accurate and more cost-effective.

1. Eliminate Spreadsheet Errors

Let’s face it, human error is not 100 percent avoidable. Duplication and transposition errors are commonly seen in spreadsheets. Other challenges include omitting data and inaccurate formula design. With even minimal errors, calculations are an unwelcome, but an expected occurrence.

Recent studies reveal that only 6 percent of spreadsheet models are “error-free.” That indicates the other 94 percent are seriously impaired in one manner or another. Eliminating keystroke errors with integrated data management solutions virtually guarantees immediate improvement.

2. Enable Confident Decision-Making

Centralized performance management solutions integrate data management, consolidation, reporting and analysis that improves planning and budgeting outcomes. Through a highly participatory network, an integrated system allows enhanced aggregation, rigorous application/approval processes and workflow management within a clearly defined protocol. All together, these advantages add confidence to the entire process.

Significantly improved accuracy makes decision making better and easier. In addition, confidence is further enhanced by an audit trail that facilitates role-based security and accountability standards.

3. Company-wide Collaboration: Easier and More Efficient

Sharing spreadsheet data is cumbersome, often requiring print, collating and delivering sensitive data to each department and/or employee separately. Even if information is shared via e-mail or other electronic means, it takes time and resources to format the information, verify recipient names and contact information and distribute the records. And, you still have to deal with error frequency – and corrections once the data is distributed.

Successful performance management involves company-wide participation and collaboration in order to gain the highest levels of accuracy and insight. Spreadsheet-based solutions do not foster collaboration and stakeholder engagement.

A rapid flow of data between all stakeholders is a valuable asset for enterprises. Web-based performance solutions allow all authorized stakeholders to read and write on the work product regardless of geographic boundaries.

4. Smarter Workflow Management

It is nearly impossible to effectively manage workflow with a spreadsheet-only performance management process. Following data contributions is difficult and greater participation doesn’t yield superior results. What is the process for passing along a spreadsheet? Who did it come from and where does it go next?

Alternately, integrating performance management solutions gives finance managers freedom to schedule tasks and monitor participation progress from conception to final approval. Transparency, accountability and review times improve when you have a workflow process moving everyone along a path.

5. Rapid Response in Fluid Business Environments

When conditions change, as they frequently do in the business world, notifying contributors is simplified with a performance management solution. Whether you need to change a revenue forecast or update approval status, each change is stored along with task status updates, leaving an audit trail for future reference.

Spreadsheets have their place in the business world. But, the risks associated with planning, budgeting and forecasting based only on spreadsheets are too significant to ignore. Integrating a web-based performance management solution that enables collaboration across all stakeholders while virtually eliminating the unavoidable errors and inconsistencies in spreadsheets is a solution every decision-maker should explore.

 

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“Five Steps To Better Performance Management”


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