| 3 Min Read |
Spreadsheets Can Hurt Your Profit And Ability To Track Costs
Manual reporting isn’t just data entry, it’s collecting information, transitioning it into new formats such as graphs, Powerpoint and a PDF. It’s having to create formulas and templates. All of this wastes time. Construction cost management is hugely important and it should be done right.
Spreadsheets are slowing you down
As well as losing time and money, spreadsheets as a method of reporting prohibits people within your business from doing more important jobs. Having the owner of your construction business spend six hours every Saturday reporting on spreadsheets not only limits the free time they should have, but it takes away time they could be spending trying to optimize the business or generate more work.
Whether it’s trying to get a project completed on time, in budget or whether you’re planning your next job, an ability to act fast is the difference between high performing businesses and the rest. But frequently, spreadsheets slow people down due to the manual and repetitive tasks. Things like having to email employees every time you make an update is senseless. Automating the entire process would mean that everybody’s version is always up to date.
Spreadsheets allow human errors
So we know that spreadsheets can be time consuming. Now remember that spreadsheets allow for human errors, and correcting those errors are not only frustrating but can also be time consuming. Did you know that it’s been reported that 90% of spreadsheets contain errors. Now image you were using that spreading for construction time tracking or costs tracking. It’s not a matter of if you make a mistake, but rather how long it will take to find it and if not, how it could affect any overall results in your business.
These errors can become more frequent when multiple people are working from the same spreadsheet. But what can cause more devasting errors are formula mistakes. These can affect several sheets within your spreadsheet and can be difficult to find.
Spreadsheets aren’t secure
A lack of storage and data protection can be of concern for business owners that use spreadsheets to control their expenses. It’s true that spreadsheets can be password protected, but that doesn’t tend to match the higher level of security found in other software automation systems.
We know that spreadsheets can cause an issue for collaboration, but that allow for siloed information. This can particularly be the case if they are being emailed around and certain people aren’t aware of updates that have been made. They can be cloud based, but spreadsheets aren’t directly related to other aspects of the business or specific to particular projects. You can’t attach files or note progression within the project, whether certain expenditure is due to a raise in material costs or extra staff.
Spreadsheets aren’t always accurate
Have you ever made changes to a spreadsheet, saved it and came back later to find a different version? This has been a huge problem that many people have experienced with shared spreadsheets. It is very easy for information to get lost on spreadsheets when multiple people are working on the same document at once.
There have been many instances where a business will use a spreadsheet for construction time tracking. Multiple people will be constantly updating the spreadsheet and when it becomes too big it corrupts, resulting in incorrect or lost information. What can also be causing this to happen is that you have people making changes and then not saving the workbook properly.
Spreadsheets don’t show the big picture
So you’ve spent lots of time making several sheets to analyse the costs for different aspects of your business. You know that you’re losing money on a particular phase of a project but why? Spreadsheets can tell you where you’re losing money but they won’t give you a reason. The why is what allows you to learn from previous mistakes, it’s what enables you to be able make changes so they don’t happen again.
Big businesses can have a spreadsheet compiled of many sheets, which still doesn’t track everything. It doesn’t provide that all important feature, a main dashboard that simply shows you everything in a simplified way.
Spreadsheets manage to be both too detailed and yet not detailed enough. You’re looking at a lot of information but it can difficult to get clear answers from it.
A simple and effective solution to the problems that spreadsheets create is automation. Automation not only frees up time for employees to work on more important issues, but it limits any errors previously caused while using spreadsheets. Automation can give you answers. Did you spend more on a project than you thought you did. Could it have been due to ineffective construction costs tracking? Find out what exactly it was that caused you to go over budget. Know exactly where you stand on all of your payments with a master dashboard with our building contractor software.
Written By: Leslie Graham