Feb. 7, 2018 · Sales Performance

6 Reasons You Need an Excel Alternative

Grace Cook
Marketing

In many offices across the world, Excel is an essential tool that is used every day. Whether it’s recording customer data, making financial calculations, creating graphs or collating big data, Excel is the widely-used, free, (for the basic version at least), program that companies rely on to get the job done. 

Whilst Excel has immense use and capabilities, it’s flawed. It has become the tool of choice for businesses but for what reason? Yes, it's undeniably good at what it does but there are without a doubt better options available.

As it happens, you can manage without Excel. To help you see the light, we’ve come up with six reasons why you need an Excel alternative, and also provided you with some different options to make the switch easy. 

1. Purpose-specific alternatives exist

Excel is no longer the only option available to companies when it comes to recording financial information, recording time sheets or managing tasks. 

Nowadays there are a whole variety of programs that will collect your data in a much easier fashion and will also report or visualise it in a more attractive way. No matter what you use Excel for, there is guaranteed to be a piece of software that is built to do exactly what Excel does, but better. 

Keep reading to see our recommendations!

2. Difficult to analyse and share

Unless you upload your spreadsheet to Dropbox or another cloud sharing piece of software and manage it from there, you are unable to live edit Excel spreadsheets. 

Having to send your spreadsheet around to different people and then wait for them to send it back before you can send it on is an archaic process and is incredibly time consuming. 

3. It's easy to make mistakes

A study from the University of Hawaii found a staggering 88% of spreadsheets have an error on them. This finding is all the more worrying given the fact that even a small mistake like a misplaced decimal point can have big implications on a company’s finances and future. 

Manually inputting data is probably one of the main reasons why there are so many mistakes in Excel spreadsheets. People frequently copy and paste data between spreadsheets and the process of sending them around to multiple people leaves a great amount of room for human error.

Data can also accidentally be deleted and valuable information like leads can be lost for good. 

4. Lack of data security

Data on Excel spreadsheets is vulnerable to viruses and possible employee tampering.

This is because you are unable to track edits to documents and you are only able to password protect a whole document or nothing at all, meaning that sensitive data can be shown to the wrong people. Spreadsheet passwords are also very easy to circumvent. 

Having sensitive data like your financial information stored on an external secure server is a lot safer than keeping it on your internal system which is vulnerable to prying eyes and employee meddling.

5. Not user-friendly or intuitive 

Many people run a mile when they’re asked to do calculations in Excel. Excel is famously daunting and there are far more user-friendly programs you could be using instead that are easier to navigate.

6. You need to manually update data

No-one likes to do repetitive work that adds zero value to your own job or the company you work for. With Excel you continuously have to update the spreadsheets with updated information from your source systems such as CRMs, ERPs, etc. which is extremely time-consuming.

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What’s a good alternative?

Many of you reading this might agree with all of the reasons above, but are reluctant to cut ties with Excel given the wealth of company data you have stored on your spreadsheets. Well what about finding a new way to display this data instead?

This is where Plecto comes in. Using a Plecto dashboard to display Excel spreadsheet data in a visually appealing way provides you with a complete overview of your Excel data and better possibilities for analysis and company transparency. 

If you’re looking to break away from Excel for good, then we would love to recommend some of the great companies we integrate with and also some other options. Using one of our integrated programs means you still have the possibility for attractive visualisation on a Plecto dashboard, but with a different input source than Excel.

Sales

Salesforce and Pipedrive are just a couple of examples of a number of great CRM systems that allow for easy input and storage of data. In fact, if you are just looking to input your sales targets and see what you’ve sold – you can do this at no additional charge with Plecto.

Looking for more about CRM systems?
Choosing the right CRM

Marketing

Pardot and HubSpot both let you structure and execute marketing campaigns and at the same time manage your content and automation.

Project management

A few great project management tools are PodioJIRA and Monday. All are great pieces of software to organise workflows and ensure all employees are on track.

In terms of team chat, we at Plecto personally love Slack as it is really easy to use and aids communication between our different departments. 

Financial

One great piece of financial reporting software is e-conomic. The opportunity to display economic data on an attractive dashboard is also a huge positive as the information is clear and easy to understand at a glance. All employees will be able to understand the data (which is often not the case with Excels spreadsheets) and as a result, your business will be brought together.

A few other accounting options are XeroFresh Books and Zoho Books

Ready to cut ties with Excel? Try Plecto free for 14 days and see how our dashboards make business reporting and visualisation simple.