The Hidden Costs of Microsoft Excel for Budgeting and Reporting

May 13 2019

Many restaurant companies run their financials using QuickBooks, relying on Microsoft Excel for tasks such as budgeting and reporting. While the QuickBooks-and-Excel combination may have served you well in the beginning, there are inevitable drawbacks that can limit growth. You start to miss out on the benefits of a financial management system that offers strategic, collaborative budgeting and fast, accurate reporting.

Here are just a few of the hidden costs of using spreadsheets for budgeting and reporting:

  • Time. Managing budgets in Excel requires lots of tactical work—downloading CSVs, cutting and pasting, rolling data up, updating formulas and links, building and updating forecasts and models, emailing files, and more. If managing budgeting and planning is so time-consuming that you’re only focused on looking backward, you’re missing the value of budgeting and planning for your business—to look forward and figure out how to meet your short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans.
  • Errors.  According to Ventana Research, 35% of companies find data errors in their most critical spreadsheets, 26% contain formula errors, and 19% have format errors. Even a single data entry error can ruin an entire set of calculations and cause costly delays. Even worse, Excel sheets tend to multiply, with multiple versions of the truth floating around the company. This complicates otherwise routine processes, such as pulling together reports.
  • Lack of security. One blogger put the issue this way: “Anyone with email or a memory stick can send a spreadsheet file to anyone else–even to a competitor. And what about file corruption? Are you disciplined enough to back up your systems and protect every user’s workstation from attack or failure?”

The list of spreadsheet problems goes on—the inability to collaborate across locations and users, poor integration, susceptibility to fraud, lack of scalability, and using old or bad data to make business-critical decisions.

Cut costs without breaking the bank

As a growing restaurant company, you can’t afford the limitations of Excel spreadsheets for critical tasks like budgeting and reporting. Cloud-based restaurant financials from Sage Intacct replace guesswork with greater visibility, errors with accuracy, and multiple versions of spreadsheets with a single source of truth.

Up-to-the-minute reports and dashboards deliver faster insights to drive your company’s performance higher and give you the flexibility to view key metrics from almost any perspective—business driver, location, menu item, employee, and more. And Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning is everything that spreadsheets are not—effective, collaborative, and strategic. You can easily model calculations like projected cash flow or sales as well as calculate headcount expenses without spreadsheet errors.

Ready to leave the limitations of spreadsheets in the dust? Turn to the restaurant technology and finance experts at Tablespoon. They’ll help you create a financial management foundation that cuts the hidden costs of Excel and opens up the wide world of opportunity for your growing company.