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How To Tell If Your Business Has Outgrown Excel

Excel is a good tool, but sometimes businesses grow, and Excel doesn’t seem as simple as it used to be, but it feels like a burden now.

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Excel has become the most widely used tool business uses to manage productivity. For example, you might use it to keep track of your employee shifts and different counters, monitor and calculate your revenue streams, and many other reasons.

Not only you but many other businesses are also more or less using Excel for the same reasons. Excel’s most widely used usage is as a storage and analysis tool. However, their ‘physical’ data is obsolete. Managing that data is inefficient and counterproductive. Excel might have worked for you when you were in the initial phase of your business, but as your business grows, Excel can’t keep up. Surprisingly, many companies still use Microsoft Excel as their primary data analysis and storage tool after they’ve outgrown it. Here are a few signs that Excel is not working out for you, and instead, you should opt for custom software development.

1) You have to reconcile spreadsheets constantly.

Have you ever encountered where multiple users inputting data in a spreadsheet? Did you look through a spreadsheet and feel something was missing or the data wasn’t correct? Often this happens because you’re looking at the wrong version of the spreadsheet. If this is the case, you should use a custom software application connected to a database that allows multiple users to interact with the data. Then, with proper access and user roles, you’ll always have accurate, easy-to-manipulate information.

It would be best if you had stronger calculations.

Every business does not have experienced staff that can create unique formulas and have years of experience writing Excel functions. So if you frequently find yourself using heavy-hitting parts like PIVOT, VLOOKUP, and SUMIF, you’ve reached the peak of Excel’s ability.

Excel is not an analytical tool; it has no more advanced tools to aggregate, manipulate or analyze data. Furthermore, Excel can’t make future predictions or evaluate historical data.

At this stage, it’s better to use customized software developed by a custom software development company that is more robust and efficient for your business. Custom software that allows you to produce detailed reports, analyze data and automatically make stronger calculations.

2) Challenging to use version control

Version control is a procedure to manage changes to software, databases, and websites. Furthermore, every change can be viewed by users so that they are aware of the changes being made by other users. In an ideal situation, version control systems make older versions of the documents easily accessible so time can be saved.

Excel has difficult-to-use version control.

If two or three users are compiling their data and everyone has their spreadsheet, you will have to collect and organize all the different spreadsheets, which is counterproductive and cost time and effort.

Your business should use a custom web application developed for your business, where data can easily be accessible by all users. Then you can have a system where you have accurate and easy-to-organize information.

3) Excel takes a long time to load

You know Excel isn’t doing its work when:

  • You are facing long delays when opening spreadsheets
  • You are managing your tasks around these delays.
  • Your computers are lagging.

The point of Excel is to improve productivity, not the other way around. Therefore, you should have a system with a database that has an easy-to-use interface, and all users can easily store and organize their information.

4) Excel is not the ideal analytical tool.

Excel has a long list of complex formulas you can use to get the job done. But to get proficient in using those formulas. It would be best if you had experienced users. Besides, Excel is limited in its uses.

  • Excel is limited in its analytical prowess.
  • Excel cannot be used for brainstorming.
  • Excel doesn’t produce reports using existing data, nor can it make predictions.

5) Excel can easily compromise your security.

Every business has confidential internal files; if they fall into the hands of outsiders, you may have just compromised your security.

  • Excel files are not trackable.
  • They are easy to transport.
  • They can easily be accessed if uploaded on a shared drive. Thus posing a security and financial threat.

6) Excel cannot do automated tasks

Yes, the data is digital. But copy-pasting is not. It still takes human effort.

Excel doesn’t work well with other solutions.

If you need to transfer your data, you must copy and paste it cell by cell. It’s a long process.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to regularly evaluate your tools, no matter how embedded they are in your business process or industry.

Excel is a good tool, but sometimes businesses grow, and Excel doesn’t seem as simple as it used to be, but it feels like a burden now.

So instead of a massive spreadsheet operation, your business needs customized software developed according to your needs and workflow. The custom-developed software can automate tedious tasks, analyze the data that’s meaningful to you, and integrate with your other systems (CRM, payroll, accounting, shipping, etc.).

Does Excel cause you any challenges? If you need custom software development services for your business, email us at or fill in the contact form here, and we will take care of your needs.

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