Excel is undoubtedly one of the most popular information systems for reporting. However, when it comes to analyzing and using data for the optimization of the organization’s internal processes, this system often falls short. In this article we will show you the disadvantages of using Excel, a tool that was born as a simple spreadsheet for data manipulation, to generate reports.
Each team member may save a slightly different version, and when it comes time to share information, there are at least five different versions of the same report to compare and consolidate. Additionally, as people want to add their information a few hours before the meeting, and several people cannot make changes at the same time, everyone adds their information or makes changes as fast as possible to send the file to the next person. This leads to a lot of errors, including unintentional loss or modification of information, compounded by the fact that without defined permissions and roles, there is no way to see who changed the data, when it was changed, or how many other cells and sheets may have been affected.
Templates are used in the hope of maintaining consistency, but sometimes, the information does not fit the constraints of the template and adjustments must be made to customize them. The template is never finalized, it always has to be continually changed and updated.
If updates are not made with adequate speed, the templates end up being discarded. Efficiency is lost when different reports are produced in different business units that basically present the same data. It is a complete waste of time to comply with requirements such as changing colors or fonts to be used.
If too complex templates are made, no one has any idea how to enter data correctly because they do not know what the related formulas are, and you cannot have a real visualization of the data.
When the document is locked there are ways to fix it, but a lot of time is wasted. Read-only formatting is of no use when you need to make changes.
Only people with advanced skills, and sometimes without the best intentions, can easily open and make adjustments to documents, without any password, even if they have a lock password set to ensure security.
An incorrect number makes the spreadsheet and report inaccurate. This can occur frequently as it is easy to make a typographical or formulaic error and not even realize it. Two keys may be pressed when only one was meant to be pressed, affecting the rest of the report. The only way to detect the error and its consequences is to go row by row, and cell by cell, checking each and every piece of data.
Too much time can be spent on large and small formatting corrections to make any spreadsheet look more presentable or print properly, which is usually not achieved. This can waste time that should be spent entering and adjusting the actual content and information.
In addition, formatting changes in different versions of the report can make comparison of data from these different versions impossible. This is without taking into account that the version of Excel may also change, which means that a report made in the latest version will not be able to be consulted in previous versions, as it will not be compatible.
When relating Excel workbooks or sheets there is no automatic way to tell how many or which cells have links. In addition, circular links can occur, leading to errors and display difficulties. Managing a spreadsheet can become so complex that only a few people are willing and able to make the necessary adjustments. Most people do not use Excel to its full potential because they do not know how to do it and the cost of training a person to acquire this competence is high in terms of time and money.
Converting Excel documents into Google spreadsheets limits the document’s functionality and requires significant time wasted on reformatting to ensure that some features work properly.Typically, spreadsheet information is summarized in an email or Power Point presentation. This summary represents rework that is often wasted when the Excel file needs to be consulted for analysis and decision making.
Excel may crash, causing the program to close, with a possible loss of changes and updates, which also translates into loss of information and work time.
Although, as mentioned at the beginning, Excel is a tool used and budgeted in most organizations, licenses are becoming more and more expensive. Additionally, it should be taken into account that costs may increase because the problems mentioned above negatively affect organizations.