How to run a business on Excel

The benefits of excel

Sole traders and companies that consist of less than five employees are often tempted to use Excel to run their business. After all, Excel:

1) Provides a unified set of data through protected sheets.
2) Can be accessed via sharepoint/ google drive from anywhere.
3) Does not require powerful servers to maintain
4) Can easily be backed up every day by copy/ pasting your document(s) to another drive
5) Comes with the office suite and can push data in multiple formats (Powerpoint, Word, PDF).
6) Has a large community of users
7) Training is very cheap and social media offer free training sessions.
8) Reports can be easily built using simple formulas.

The limitations of excel

Above and beyond simple data entry, a company can set and follow best practice workflows.
This means that data cannot simply be shared and updated by anyone without authorization levels, roles and permissions.

Excel stops being useful as soon as the business grows past the size of its original founders.

This is where a CRM and an ERP come in handy, because not only do they provide data storage, it also allows the users to be guided through a number of meaningful steps that will guide him/her into being the most efficient possible in specific scenarios. For example: Company A has 3 sales reps and need to ensure they each have their territory and items types to sell, each targeting specific market sizes. This process would be very time consuming to run on a shared excel document. A CRM+ERP solution such as NetSuite would allow the company to align their processes rapidly and ensure all new sales reps would follow the same workfolw.

How to run your business on Excel

If growth and expansion are not of interest to you, and that you see little value in analysing your historic sales and expenditure in order to forecast cashflow then Excel could be used to:

1) Track customers by status (Leads, Prospects, Customer), Deal value, Items sold and balance
2) Track suppliers by amounts due, items services purchased
3) Track items, including stock levels, price and cost
4) Track revenue and expenses by following customer invoices and vendor bills
5) Track your bank statement
6) Build sales, expenses, profit and loss as well as Balance sheet reports.

To be more explicit, your excel sheet would be a digitalization of your accounting paper books, with each excel sheet representing Customers, Vendors, Items, Bills, Sales Estimates, Sales Orders, Sales Invoices and your additional Expenses such as salary, traveling, hotel, food and beverage. An additional sheet would cover Fixed Assets.


How to move forward from Excel

Using Excel has the benefit of helping you structure your data, through spreadsheets.
The natural step when outgrowing Excel is to use an all-encompassing ERP.

1) Importing your historical data on your ERP will be very easy if they are already clean on Excel.
2) Process flows you manually followed will be naturally present on the ERP.
3) Industry specific needs and specifications will already be included on your field entry forms as well as printed forms.
4) You will be able to take in more resources and keep confidential information accessible only to those you want.
5) Process flows will be secured and enhanced to help you gain higher levels of efficiency.


How we help business scale

Are you looking for an efficient way of upscaling your business and its operations?

We are experts at helping business of all sizes transition from their archaic systems to their next-gen solution.
We help businesses scale by supporting them by building their next solution’s architecture, costing and project management, delivering the implementation and training services.

We also ensure your long term success by providing long term assistance on all the solutions we provide.

Does our approach make sense? Let us know through our contact form.

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