5 Ways Managers Misuse MS Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of the most commonly used spreadsheet programs with its use ranging from basic data management to accurate data analysis. It uses a grid of cells arranged in the letter-named columns and numbered rows for organizing data and performing basic arithmetic manipulations. However, its widespread utilization for data analysis by less accomplished users has made it the most commonly misused business tool. The misuse leads to data errors with an estimate of 88% spreadsheets having serious errors leading to billions of dollars’ worth of losses.

It is commonly used in certain ways, in which it was never intended. Different ways in which managers misuse MS Excel are as follows:

1. As A Database

Managers often use Excel for storing data, keeping in mind the visual similarities of a database table export and a spreadsheet. This happens mostly due to the scarcity of data to justify the use of a database or lack of technical resources.

Excel is not designed to handle relational data, and that leads to discrepancies when multiple files have co-related data that needs to be edited. Also, allowing multiple users to have access to the same spreadsheet at the same time increases the risk of integrity errors and security issues.

2. As A CRM System

Using Excel to track your interactions with your clients just because it lets you store contacts is a mistake most managers make. Spreadsheets are not automated, so you have to add and modify every new piece of information manually. You cannot schedule your meetings or calls; you cannot synchronize it with your email, or access the spreadsheet remotely in case the need arises.

3. As A Workflow Or Project Management Tool

Keeping track of the various stages of a project is a crucial task for any manager. And this data needs to be shared with multiple teams and users at all times. Using MS Excel for project management is inefficient and a disaster waiting to happen. Multiple users trying to change various values that impact the values used by other users, all at the same time lead to loss of data integrity. Also, Excel lacks most essential automation features of a workflow or project management tool.

4. As An Integration Tool

Any organization that uses different software for different purposes which often do not communicate with each other leads to problems. So, the most common solution people come up with is using Excel spreadsheets to export and cobble data from different software. However, instead of connecting the data and allowing you to analyze it, simultaneous saves from multiple departments corrupts the data.

5. As A Budgeting Tool

Similar to the use of an integration tool, budget data from multiple systems is clubbed together for further processing. However, as soon as the data from any of those systems is updated, the spreadsheet becomes useless.

Excel, when used how it was intended to, can simplify a number of business tasks. An Excel 2016 Beginner training course from QuickStart can help you in thoroughly and correctly utilizing its features.

About The Author
Enterprise Account Executive

Tim Dieterich

Tim is an IT Education Consultant who works with SMBs, enterprise, and government organizations. He helps them achieve IT business objectives through comprehensive multi-mode learning. He assists clients and organizations by making recommendations and providing education for Information Technology, Project Management, Process Improvement, Soft Skills, and more.