Ten reasons not to use Excel to store company data
August 23 2021
As your business grows, it will begin to accrue large amounts inside your database. The clientele will grow with your business, meaning the database will get more complex. As this happens, Excel will get slower and have growing performance issues.
As an add-on to the point above. As the data grows, the business will lose historical data. This makes it difficult to spot trends over a long period. Seeing data from a long time ago can be very useful when planning strategies.
Visualising data in Excel can be very difficult. It is much more suited to linear workflows and is purely just best used for stored small amounts of structured data.
Even with multi-user editing, it is very prone to errors and could cause you to lose data if two employees are working on Excel at the same time. It is very easy to overwrite each other’s work, and emailing copies of the spreadsheet can be tedious. After sharing a copy of the spreadsheet, it can be tough to get everyone back on track with the same version of the spreadsheet.
The security with Excel can be a problem. The data can be password protected, and Windows does allow permissions to be adjusted. However, these can require a deep understanding of Excel. If you have multiple employees working from home, they could be using different operating systems, in which case, some features won’t work.
Excel will require manual inputting of the data. This could take hours out of the workweek which could be used for something more productive. Inputting of the data can be automatic with bespoke systems, saving you time and money in the long run.
Excel is adequate at just storing small-medium amounts of data. Once you try to adapt it to your business by adding interfaces or different tasks, it can be tricky to work with, and you start to see the cracks with Excel.
Databases can be exposed to fraudulent manipulations. Formulas within specific cells can be tampered with without anyone’s knowledge. Changes made within the spreadsheet are not tracked. This means that anyone with access to the database can edit any customer details or change any figures. These changes will be hard to find, which means the data will be incorrect.
Spreadsheets are rarely stored in one place as the data needs to be used to inform business decisions. The data will be in the hands of non-IT employees quite often. These employees can sometimes have limited knowledge of data backups and therefore can be quite careless. If you lose some data, it might be impossible to get all the data back in one place.
Excel can be daunting for those not too familiar with IT systems. It has many features in the background that can be useful but these will have to be learnt by reading external sources such as books. Many employees won’t have the time for this, as they are too concerned with their primary job.
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