A year ago, P.F. Chang’s finance chief Jim Bell and his team were wasting time. As Bell told the Wall Street Journal, they regularly spent hours sending out their sheafs of spreadsheets to team leaders at their 415 U.S. restaurants. The process was clunky, but, Bell and his team thought, a necessary evil.
That is, until they replaced Excel and all those granular, unwieldy spreadsheets with cloud accounting software, and the hours shrank to mere minutes.
The fact is, the humble spreadsheet is slowly but surely going the way of the LaserDisc and home phone, succeeded by more powerful, feature-rich options tailored to our fast-paced times. No matter how nostalgic some accountants may be for manually inputting endless columns of data, double checking every single number for errors, and scratching their heads when a rogue function inexplicably and inevitably throws a wrench into their calculations, today’s clients simply can’t afford the time.
Let your competitors cling to outdated methods and mindless drudgery. Meanwhile, you can celebrate all the ways in which your cloud accounting platform makes spreadsheets obsolete. Here are three of the most compelling:
Flexible, dynamic reports that respond to shifts in real time.
Old-school spreadsheets require constant updating, ensuring that they represent the reality of your company’s situation. What’s more, they need to be linked together like a nest of cables to talk back and forth between one another, resulting in unavoidable mistakes and a sense that you’re always just behind the ball no matter how thorough you may be.
Cloud accounting platforms come equipped with reporting tools that can respond to minute changes in data as they happen. They can integrate seamlessly with dozens of other systems to provide up-to-the-minute updates that occur without any effort on your part at all. So you can rest easy with the knowledge that everything is exactly where it should be.
Minimal human error.
It’s easy to deride spreadsheets for a lack of efficiency, but really, the worst part about them is how terrifyingly simple it is to input incorrect data and gum up the entire works of your system. A single stray number can result in wild miscalculations, leading you on a wild goose chase to track down the single cell that’s so intent on exploding your workflow.
With automated processes and synchronicity between programs, cloud accounting platforms reduce errors to an absolute minimum. What you see is what you get, and there’s no need to tear your hair out with worry over incorrect data.
In addition to being static, spreadsheets don’t allow easy collaboration between members of your team or between accountants and their clients. But cloud accounting platforms can be accessed from anywhere, by any of your authorized users, allowing easy analysis and editing on the go. Maybe you need to explain a particularly thorny component of a budget to a client, or work with a manager across the country to maximize a revenue stream. It’s easy when you can see what the other party is doing, instantly, and work together towards whatever solution you have in mind.
When they first hit the scene, digital spreadsheets revolutionized the accounting industry. But they simply haven’t kept up with the changing marketplace. Today, the revolution is in the cloud, and woe to any accounting professionals determined to stick to their old ways.
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