Here are five reasons to be cautious when using free spreadsheets templates for your businesses job costing:
With spreadsheets, data isn’t able to be updated in real-time. Because the spreadsheets will need to be manually updated, you'll always have a delay between when something was done, and when it was reported. This means you never have an up-to-date look at your records which can make it difficult to make informed decisions.
Being manually updated is also time-consuming. That means the relationship between the data sets is unable to help with decision making or provide insights.
Spreadsheets can certainly keep data organised allowing you to view details in one document, but it’s not necessarily good for keeping information easily accessible and connected when there are lots of moving parts.
For example, you may want a spreadsheet that shows all your active projects. You may also want to be able to track the progress of each of those projects. Storing all this information in one spreadsheet would make the information complex and hard to get quick insights from, but splitting across multiple sheets means that you'll need to update both sheets when the project is complete.
Unfortunately, without multi-document-macros, spreadsheets require you to constantly move data manually between different spreadsheets for scheduling, quoting, invoicing, and even forecast job costs.
Accurate maintenance of spreadsheets can often be difficult, especially when only a limited amount of detail can be listed for projects on single rows or columns. . The number of "layers" to a project is limited in spreadsheets, so you can't rely on detailed records.
That means key steps can be easily missed or miscommunicated, which pushes out project completion and delay urgent tasks. Spreadsheets, unfortunately, have no way of adjusting to accommodate these dependencies or new additional project tasks
The information provided in spreadsheets typically does not allow for quick, frequent updates. Whenever large spreadsheets are constantly having data changes whenever they change hands, whoever used the latest version of the file is usually charged with ensuring it is safe, accurate, and uncorrupted.
This is not only inefficient and time-consuming, but it can also lead to more errors because it’s difficult to accurately record and keep track of where major projects were 12 days ago, let alone 12 months ago.
Spreadsheets system don’t force you (or even let you) to attach purchase orders, invoices, receipts and timesheets to a project’s history. Because of that, it’s all too tempting to put an “estimated” (read guess) value in the spreadsheet to give you a starting point. The problem happens when that guess becomes relied upon as real data, rather than the made-up data that it actually is, and if you rely on it, you’re cooked!
There’s also no way to do a reliability check on that data, without going back over every timesheet record, and every invoice manually, which in itself is an enormous time and cost burden, which I bet you’re not going to put into that spreadsheet as a job-related cost!
If you’ve come to the realisation that spreadsheets are killing YOUR business, perhaps it’s time to move to a proper job management platform like WorkGuru.
After relying on spreadsheets, transitioning to a job management system can cause a massive increase in the overall productivity of your team's thanks to information transparency, reduced errors, and shared workloads.
Along with responsibility for updating the project happens automatically, the increased productivity means more accurately completed projects with happier customers and employees alike.