While they might appear to be a cheaper solution than a proper job management tool, spreadsheets are killing your business, and in the long-term it’s definitely not cost-effective.
Spreadsheets seem great, because you can kind of do whatever you want with them, but that’s actually one of the biggest downsides. There’s no rigour to the process of using them, and because of that, it’s easy to make mistakes using and then be unable to retrace the errors.
Ultimately, using spreadsheets to manage jobs, especially larger and more complicated ones, ends up being unreliable, ineffective, and time-consuming. There are many reasons for this, some of which we’ve included below:
With spreadsheets, data isn’t able to be updated in real time. That’s because despite keeping all job data and other specific business information in spreadsheets, it still needs to be manually updated which 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 good for keeping information easily accessible and connected when moving between tasks in the process of job management. Without setting up multi-document macros, spreadsheets, unfortunately, 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. That means key steps can be easily missed, which pushes out project completion, usually with little or no notice at all. Spreadsheets unfortunately have no way of adjusting to accommodate these dependencies or new additional project tasks.
The information provided is spreadsheets typically do not allow for the provision of a quick update. 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, 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.
So this might be controversial, but no spreadsheet system will force you (or even let you) 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 teams 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.