5 reasons why job costing can’t work if you’re using Excel
Excel has been one of the finance director’s most reliable tools for a long time. Particularly in small and medium-sized companies, Microsoft’s industry standard spreadsheet application is a versatile and accessible platform that serves a huge variety of purposes in the average business. On its 25th anniversary back in 2010, Excel was even described as “perhaps the most revolutionary software program ever” by Business Insider.
However, a vital skill in finance and business is recognising the limitations of any tool or application and taking the necessary steps to get the functionality you require. If you still use Excel or another spreadsheet program as your primary means of job costing software, it could be time for a change.
An integrated business management system like SAP Business One increasingly leaves Excel in the shade when it comes to key functions like job costing.
Find out more about the technical functionality available with the job costing add-on software. But if you want to quickly know how it benefits you, read on for our top 5 reasons:
Excel sheets typically have to be maintained and updated by individuals, which means a much greater chance of inaccuracies and data gaps. Using an integrated business management system, which pulls all the data associated with a job or project together into one place, means there is little chance of an error slipping through to throw your calculations out.
It’s easy for management to get a real-time view of how profitable each of your jobs is going to be – and which ones are potentially heading off track – with an ERP or business management system that provides a ‘single version of the truth’. Data held in multiple spreadsheets and updated manually makes achieving this level of visibility extremely difficult.
How many times have you spent a few hours compiling data from spreadsheets before an important meeting? Or struggling to get information from a variety of complex and highly customised sheets into a simple format that your MD will understand?
Reporting is much easier with a business management system like SAP Business One – you can simply pull a report off the system that you know contains the most accurate and up-to-date information before you step into the meeting.
It’s a cliche that one finance director’s spreadsheet makes perfect sense to them but can’t be understood by the next colleague who is asked to use it. But it’s true that when Excel is the common means for holding data across the business, each person will customise their own sheets to their own preference.
This can be a great way of driving individual productivity, but it makes sharing knowledge difficult. And when holidays or unexpected absences crop up, you need a system that everyone can access and use without needing a training session first.
Reduced admin time
All of these things mean less time searching through spreadsheets, finding the relevant data and sending emails back and forth. The result is more time to spend on planning, analysis and providing the strategic support your MD expects from you.