How to bring your beloved spreadsheets into the cloud
When people say “It’s time to ditch the spreadsheets and get into the cloud!” it shows they don’t know how things work in the real world.
Many businesses use spreadsheets to manage specific tasks, such as costing jobs, or modelling – or simply out of habit.
And as accountants, putting the needs of clients first, you don’t always get to pick or choose whether Excel or Google Sheets is part of the workflow.
With AIRPA, you don’t need to. Our integration platform means you can work with them just as easily as, say, Xero – using one login, one search bar and one information dashboard.
The problem with spreadsheets
As a forward-looking technology business, we understand how frustrating it can be to see people using old-fashioned tools that aren’t fit for purpose.
As a rule, if you find yourself having to hack, bodge or make manual adjustments, the software you’re using probably isn’t up to the task. It’s costing you time and introducing risk.
Spreadsheets sometimes fall into this category – especially when people use them for tasks for which they weren’t designed. They’re not databases. They’re not customer relationship management (CRM) systems. And, even if you can run a credible version of Championship Manager in Excel, they’re not a replacement for user-friendly bespoke software applications.
Over the years, spreadsheets have also been at the root of more than a few critical organisational failures.
That’s partly because of the quality of the data they’ve been fed but also, let’s be honest, because they’re only a step removed from back-end coding at times. Anyone can use Xero, which can’t always be said of spreadsheets.
It’s all too easy for a formula to get mangled, a link to be broken or someone to misunderstand a basic feature. Then, before you know it, an entire process has failed, or a body of sensitive data has leaked.
Working with spreadsheets in 2021
As we said right upfront, none of the above means spreadsheets are “dead” or useless. It’s about picking and choosing the right tool for each job – and sometimes that’s Excel or Google Sheets.
Listening to serious Excel experts talking about the amazing things they’re able to deliver using its deeper functions, such as Power Query, can be pretty inspiring. In the right hands, it remains a powerful tool with enormous flexibility.
When spreadsheets are used, due diligence should be undertaken to make sure the right people have access and editing permissions; that data is secure; and that any formulas or scripts have been tested and quality assured.
Then, digitally integrating those spreadsheets with other business tools is the next important step. It’s in the manual transfer of data from spreadsheets to other applications that errors are most often introduced, for one thing. For another, it’s all too easy for spreadsheets to get lost or misfiled, sitting on hard drives or in email inboxes.
AIRPA solves that problem by pulling together files and data from across all your systems, via universal search. It then provides powerful automation functionality to make moving data from one place to another effortless and secure.
When the time comes to retire some of your older, slower, more temperamental spreadsheets and transfer their functions to more suitable applications, it will make your life a lot easier.