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The Risks of Relying on Spreadsheets and Quickbooks

Cloud-based ERP systems have a number of benefits over spreadsheets and Quickb

As accounting standards and regulations change, businesses need to be able to adapt quickly. Antiquated financial management tools such as the accounting spreadsheet and Quickbooks can lead to errors and inefficiencies that will trickle down to stakeholders and investors, causing significant impact on a company's value.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools are readily available and increasingly vital for businesses to maintain their competitive edge. Upgrading to a cloud ERP carries a variety of economical benefits companies can't afford to ignore. Here are some practical tips for implementing these solutions, and the risks of sticking to old systems.

Inefficiencies, dangers and risks
Integration: It is still not uncommon for businesses to keep track of their finances using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Quickbooks accounting tools or some combination of the two. One of the major problems facing companies that take this approach is a lack of integration. Data can be contained in a variety of spreadsheets or applications, and sometimes even emails. Spreadsheets and Quickbooks are not good tools for integrating financial data.

Business intelligence: Another major source of frustration for companies that use spreadsheets and Quickbooks to collect their business data is the lack of cohesive intelligence they can glean from their information. This is also the area where companies can see the most benefit from switching to updated cloud ERP systems. The need for business intelligence is key for an organization - without robust BI, strategic planning and budget planning becomes exponentially more difficult. With spreadsheets and Quickbooks, the data may be there, but it takes a significant amount of manpower to extract and analyze it.

Benefits, best practices and tips
Reasons to move: There are a number of benefits to moving to a cloud-based ERP system beyond those mentioned above. Perhaps the greatest benefit is accessibility of information. With a cloud-based system, information can be accessed from literally anywhere. The infrastructure is scalable as well, making it easy for companies to expand their use of ERP systems.

Cost benefits are also a major selling point for some businesses. The cost of running multiple servers can add up, far outstripping the monthly bill for cloud services from a vendor. Security is often a concern for businesses, particularly financial firms that deal with a significant amount of sensitive data. Cloud-based ERP systems offer 24/7 data monitoring to keep information safe.

Accounting for benefits: ERP systems provide a variety of advantages for businesses that use them. Bill processing can become much faster and more accurate with a reliable connected system. From initializing a sales order to finalizing a sale, more eyes will see the same data, making it less likely that errors will make it through the process flow. Ecommerce companies in particular might find cloud-based ERP systems beneficial for this reason.

Various projects within a company can be better analyzed for profitability through the data analysis tools available in ERP systems. For example, companies could get a very clear picture about the benefits of projects like software upgrades and implementations. 

Client relations can also benefit through integrated reports, data analysis and unified accounting. With easy accessibility of information stored on the cloud, sales and account management teams can view client information before meetings or sales calls to discover any potential points of concern and better prepare for client contact.

Considerations for implementation: When investigating potential cloud-based ERP solutions, companies should of course consider the amount they will spend be spending on the system, but they should also evaluate the efficiency gains that will be made; more accurate and accessible data will lead to cost savings in a number of areas.

Finally, the more you rely up on Excel spreadsheeets, the more reliant you are on hiring candidates with higher level Excel skills. This necessitates a good Excel skills test or at least well-thought-out Excel interview questions.

Learn more about the potential rewards of moving away from QuickBooks and spreasheets to Cloud Based applications by leveraing the webinar recording from Proformative's recently delivered So Long to Spreadsheets & QuickBooks: A Fond Farewell webinar.