spreadsheet

Spreadsheets have been used for decades by businesses for such tasks as timekeeping, staff holiday records and financial data. But the use of spreadsheets can bring more trouble than they’re worth when your business starts to expand, costing time, money and resources.

In this blog, we take a look at three reasons why it’s time to replace the spreadsheet with a digital solution that won’t make you pull your hair out when a formula goes wrong.

Cost

As the number of employees increases within a business, it becomes more and more challenging to track them all, especially if some are working temporarily/voluntarily or on an ad-hoc basis, throwing a typical spreadsheet layout into a spin. Redesigning and re-configuring your spreadsheet is costly, both in terms of time and productivity, making their use at times counter-intuitive.

Along with an increase of employees comes the time-consuming task of inputting their data into all of your spreadsheets, whether these are timesheets, payroll or holiday records. Ensuring the information is accurate to prevent any potential payroll issues arising is crucial, as it can reflect negatively on your business with both HMRC and your employees.

Software such as Unique IQ’s IQ:careplanner can help to collate your team and client details together into one easy to use and viewable screen, including timesheets and payroll data, such as holidays and absence. 

The UK charity, Autism Together, experienced a variety of issues using multiple spreadsheets and documents to manage their staff rotas and annual leave before discovering IQ:careplanner, Unique IQ’s care planning software. Through their partnership with Unique IQ, a solution was built to help remove the need for spreadsheets, now using one complete system, which their staff members describe as “the best product we’d come across”.

Security

Data security is an important concern for businesses. Whether it’s sending a spreadsheet as an email attachment without a password or to the wrong recipient, having equipment stolen, or even a technical failure such as a hard drive containing the only copy of a spreadsheet breaking, a breach or loss of data can be a devastating blow.

Using spreadsheets can increase the risk of a data breach due to their inherent lack of security, especially during transmission from one user to another, such as via email or remote file sharing. Paperwork and timesheets are also viewed as a potential high-risk data breach, as they are easy to copy, lose or be taken by someone without prior authorisation.

Using digital tools, such as Unique IQ’s software, removes the risk of paperwork such as timesheets and employee holiday requests being lost or stolen, as the data is stored entirely within the cloud. Taking data security and client privacy very seriously, Unique IQ encrypts all data while at rest and in transmission, including details shared across to the IQ:timecard MOBILE app. Additional security is applied to the software in the form of usernames and passwords, with the ability to set user permissions for staff based on their position in the company and access requirements, such as viewing/editing and sharing timesheets and client information.

Reliability

Lacking in both access control and version control, spreadsheets are at a high risk of being out of date, inaccurate or inaccessible when needed.

Microsoft Excel is the most widely used software for spreadsheet production across the world. However, it is also one of the most inaccessible for multiple users trying to access a file at the same time. Unless the spreadsheet is stored within Microsoft’s chargeable cloud hosting service, Excel does not support offline or local office-based co-authoring, making the opportunity for more than one person to view, edit or access the spreadsheet very difficult.

When multiple staff members require access to the information, this can be especially challenging if the user has left the spreadsheet open and walked away from their desk. In the event a spreadsheet is inaccessible, it can lead to a pause in productivity and the inability to continue a task, which could potentially lead to a negative effect on the business’ income and reputation.

Digital solutions, such as Unique IQ’s IQ:careplanner and IQ:timecard, allow continuous multi-user access, meaning all members of your office and field staff can view, change and share information in real-time. For example, following the notification of a carer calling in sick, one office member can have their full schedule shared to an alternative carer, ensuring the client is not left without their essential care, while another office member is updating their sickness report and editing payroll, all within the space of a few minutes.

Although there are many benefits to using a spreadsheet, the time, cost and risk associated with them outweighs their benefits. Unique IQ can help your company say goodbye to the spreadsheet and hello to a digital solution based on your individual company needs and requirements, helping you to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs.

For more information on how Unique IQ’s software can help your business do more, please get in touch.