Excel is like a cordless drill. A cordless drill is cheap, easy to use and available at every hardware store. You don’t need a contractor to hang a picture frame on the wall. But there are jobs that are not so suitable for the cordless drill. Assembling your garden shed may be possible with a cordless drill, but building a multiple story house will probably require other tools.

During my carreer as Dynamics NAV consultant I’ve come across many companies that keep their accounts entirely or partially in Excel. They started using Excel years ago and don’t really see why they should switch. Usually the Excel sheets have grown to huge files with tens of worksheets. But Excel offers them all the freedom and control they want. Why switch to an ERP system? Here are twelve reasons to switch from Excel to ERP in the cloud.

And by the way: most of these reasons also apply to accounting in a custom built system, such as an Access database or Lotus Notes.

1. Sharing

Working in Excel by yourself is easy. But despite leaps in technology, like Microsoft Office 365, Excel is not really suitable to be used by multiple people simultaneously. Multiple versions of the truth often quickly ensue.

2. User Rights

An Excel sheet can be protected. You can hide data behind passwords. But you quickly run into limitations if you want more control of user rights.

3. Time

Maintenance of an Excel sheet is a time consuming business. Extending functionality, new reports and data entry (usually in multiple worksheets) costs a lot of hours.

4. Control

The more functions you want, the more links and formula’s are required. The result is often complex, confusing and error prone, leading to more wasted time.

5. Audits

An ERP system already contains may calculations and checks, making it easy for an accountant to rely on the numbers produced. VAT is calculated when you post and invoice. Invoice numbers are sequential. These kind of functions can of course be built into Excel, but an accountant wil not know that the Excel system is airtight.

6. Backups

Especially when shared between multiple people, a decent backup strategry is essential. Using Excel, you have to set this up yourself.

7. Documents

Sometimes invoices are generated from Excel using very creative macros and links. But an ERP already contains hundreds of reports and documents by default.

8. Holidays

I don’t mean that it’s better to register the holidays taken by your staff in an ERP system (although it definitely is). I mean the tendency for Excel sheets to get bigger and more complex over time. Meaning that if you want to take a few weeks off, it will take you days to instruct your replacement on how to use the Excel sheet. Usually this results in having to take your laptop with you to your favorite beachside resort.

9. Double entry

Excel itself usually doesn’t cut it. The ‘real’ financial accounting is usually done in a different system. This results in extra work and more chance of mistakes. Why not do everything in one system?

10. Growth

Usually the amount of time spent doing the accounts in Excel grows more than linear with the growth of your enterprise. More functionality leads to greater complexity and more Excel sheets bloated with hundreds of megabytes of data, slowing down processing considerably. ERP is scalable to millions of records without any performance degradation.

11. Costs

Reasons 1 t/m 10 result in frustration, extra time and errors in your accounts. And that translates directly to higher costs. Costs of subscription based ERP is dropping, and the risk of switching is minimal. So contact us today to find out how we can help you switch form Excel to the cloud.