5 Reasons Why Free Spreadsheets Are Not Actually Free - Inverse-Square
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5 Reasons Why Free Spreadsheets Are Not Actually Free

5 Reasons Why Free Spreadsheets Are Not Actually Free

Did you know that almost one in five businesses have suffered financial losses due to errors in their spreadsheets? That’s right, almost one in five but companies continue to rely on spreadsheets because they are free.

Spreadsheets seem free anyway; most computers come with some variation of them already installed, they’re easy to download, view, copy, and edit, and they don’t cost the company a dime. Why shouldn’t your business use them? The answer is simple, because they aren’t actually free.

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Besides the financial losses that can occur because of inaccurate data, there are the costs of resources to consider as well.

1. Manual Data Entry

With employees spending their time updating and entering data into spreadsheets, there is little time left for analysis and even less time for other more beneficial pursuits. Manual data entry is mind-numbing, arduous, and simply an inadequate, inefficient way to use valuable resources.

2. Data Consolidation

Despite the fact that spreadsheets are shared documents, they are made for only one person to work on at a time. Emailing copies as a workaround leads to multiple copies being used and updated simultaneously resulting in conflicting copies. Of course, one person can be sent all of the copies to consolidate the updated data, but copying and pasting to consolidate data is another waste of valuable resources which should be directed towards something more beneficial.

According to a study conducted by Ventana Research, employees who use spreadsheets spend twelve hours each month, “consolidating, modifying and correcting the spreadsheets they collaborate on with others and reuse frequently“. This equates to one and a half business days a month, or eighteen days every year consolidating data!

3. Error Detecting and Correcting 

When all of the multiple versions have been consolidated they need to be checked for human errors. Properly utilizing the pivot tables and formulas of spreadsheets is technical work being managed by non-technical resources operating outside of their unique abilities. Proper quality assurance and control by qualified individuals is another massive drain on businesses.

4. Delayed Processes

What happens while employees are waiting for the updated and correct version of their data? Nothing! With process automation in place lags like these do not occur; however workflows that require manual compiling of data create backlogs due to inefficiency. With a custom web application designed to increase process efficiency in place these backlogs would never be an issue.

5. Reporting 

Unlike the almost instantaneous results delivered by custom software, generating reports from spreadsheets can take hours and even days. By the time the information is compiled it may no longer be needed or relevant, even so without Excel experts it can be extremely difficult to go beyond basic analytics.


If these reasons aren’t enough for you to kick your spreadsheet habit and replace Excel, read our article Five Reasons Why It’s Time To Replace Excel With Custom Software. But, if you are ready to take the time and money-saving plunge with a custom software solution tailored to your organization’s unique needs, contact us today for a free consultation and discover what the custom software developers at web application development company, Inverse-Square, can do for you!



Want to develop your custom software with Team Awesome? Request a consultation with us today.