Get out of Excel hell or die trying

So many companies are still using Excel spreadsheets for their audits without realising the negative impact this is having on their business operations. “So what… they do the job”, we hear you say? Surely to succeed you want a tool that does more than just the job? Below we tell you the reasons why Excel spreadsheets are hindering your success and what you can do about it.

They are not great for team decisions and are difficult to share

Planning and forecasting are tasks that require a team effort. Using Excel means that your staff have to continuously email and share spreadsheets. This is a lengthy process, which means staff are always waiting for copies they’ve sent to be opened and you can’t guarantee that everyone is working from the same version. It makes it hard work for people to add their input, bounce ideas off of one other and analyse the data together. This means the best ideas aren’t generated and the smartest decisions aren’t made.

Fix it: With modern reporting technology, staff see one set of analytics from the reports in real time, with any new completed reports are sent to their devices instantly. They will receive a notification rather than an email which ensures a quicker response time. It takes just 15 minutes to view push notifications, compared to an average 6.5 hours to view an email (ZipStripe research 2017). This means everyone is always up to date and can always work collaboratively.

They can create multiple versions of the truth

Being able to create management reports, or budgeting programmes on Excel means that people in your business can (purposefully or through bias) tailor their reports with results that suit their best interests. This means that decisions are made based on reports which aren’t always truthful.

Fix it: Today’s digital reporting tools allow for centrally defined metrics and a single, central version of the truth. With instant analytics and reporting, it diminishes the ability to create biased reports, which means stronger business decisions.

They create too much admin

Reports on Excel are too long-winded. You have to manually enter the results from your audit into your spreadsheet then if you want to add photos or notes these have to be uploaded separately. If you want someone to act on an issue highlighted in your report, you’re reliant on sending them the whole report or a separate action email and follow ups. This means you have to resort to entering more notes, or worse, getting emailed back multiple copies of the same report with different notes for different people.

Fix it: With modern auditing tools, you can add photos and notes within the report meaning you can simply create them as you go. You can assign actions to specific people, with deadlines, to ensure that any uncompleted tasks are always attended to. A tap of a button sends the whole report, photos and actions off in one go.

It’s hard to spot trends or problems

When you manually add or export data into Excel it can be hard to look for trends across your business, especially if you’re not a full-time pivot chart pro! This means you are lacking the ability to highlight any problems or even catch things before they’re an issue. Because you’re seeing all the raw data at once, it’s difficult to interpret what’s important and what’s not.

Fix it: Most specialised reporting tools have visualisation features which are used to highlight the most important aspects of your audits. They automatically generate key stats and insights, meaning you can instantly see your businesses overall trends and patterns across all your reports.

It’s too easy to make mistakes with them

We are only human and humans make mistakes; when you are manually creating reports and manipulating the data, the chances of errors dramatically increases. There’s always a chance that someone missed a certain row of information, typed in the wrong metric or simply got the data confused.

Fix it: Digital reporting tools control the manipulation of data by automatically compiling stats and insights from multiple audits, this ensures that everyone always sees an accurate representation of the data.


Get in touch to see how Oplift Review can help you get the most out of your audits, save time, make better decisions and improve business operations! Virgin Media reduced the time it took to do their workplace checklists by 62% when using Oplift!

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 28th August 2018