5 most common pain points of Excel and how to fix them

Excel is great for smaller tasks, but when it comes to planning & managing a larger company budget Excel isn’t ideal. But as most businesses start off small, using Excel spreadsheets, there are certain pain points that most finance teams run into. We look at the 5 most common pains we know businesses have with Excel and how to tackle them.

1. Microsoft Excel is slow

The more data in the spreadsheet, the slower Excel is to respond. Excel was only designed to handle so much data in each report. The problem is, the size of the report not only impacts the time it takes for the spreadsheet to load but also the time it takes to make any changes to the data within the document. As a result, many businesses start to use multiple spreadsheets or worksheets to make the data more manageable. But this, in turn, leads to our next pain point.

2. Too many spreadsheets to cross reference

The more spreadsheets you have, the more difficult financial reporting becomes. More importantly, the more difficult accurate reporting becomes. With so many different spreadsheets it will be hard to consolidate your information and get a complete view of your business. Not only is it time-consuming, the risk of data manipulation becomes increasingly higher.

3. Multiple Excel spreadsheets make for inaccurate reporting

In most finance teams, several people need to gather data from the same report. Sharing the file between them all is not the issue. The problem arises when some of the data is inevitably changed by one user, which then needs to be replicated by all other users of the report. But with most Excel users saving files on their desktop, data changes are often missed, and the same file has multiple versions, with slightly different data, leading to confusion over which spreadsheet has the most accurate information. You need one online version of the spreadsheet that you can all work from.

4. Duplicated data mistakes 

In parallel to pain point number three, where reports have been locked to incapacitate incorrect changes, incorrect data can often be duplicated when creating new reports and forecasts. The time taken to fix this mistake across the reports can be an equally time-consuming headache. While reviewing a spreadsheet before it is shared can avoid this error, it can be easy to overlook one wrong cell and have this pain occur.

5.  The manual labour of love that Excel encourages

Unfortunately, the largest pain point we have come across is the manual effort Excel requires. Updating data in an Excel spreadsheet is not a simple task. Instead, it is time-consuming and prone to human error. Combined with any of the above pain points, manual changes to your spreadsheets tends to be the pain point that is the proverbial straw on the finance team’s back.

So, with all these problems, where does a finance team start in order to solve them? Well, across the five pain points we see three main problems: speed, multiple reports, and manual processes. All of which can be combated with an automated system that is designed to consolidate the vast amount of data that Excel can’t handle. It’s just about discovering which financial software meets your needs best.