Are spreadsheets really all that bad?

Posted by Justin Hesser on February 7, 2012

Large accounting firms and small retailers alike have learned about the problems with using spreadsheets for data storage the hard way. And, as more and more issues come to light, many organizations are starting to switch their information records to database software. But, are spreadsheets really that awful?

According to global business consulting firm Protiviti, research has shown that 94 percent of all spreadsheets contain errors.

"Not all of these errors will result in financial loss, but organizations won't know without investigating which errors could cause serious issues," Protiviti’s Director of IT Consulting Scott Bolderson said in a statement. "Regulators are starting to apply more pressure on organizations to address the issue, recognizing the level of dependence many organizations place on calculations in spreadsheets."

IT project management service Denizon laid out that some of these inaccuracies can be caused by accidental copy-and-pasting, unintentional cell, column, row or character deletion and omission of mathematical symbols.

In sum, yes, spreadsheets can definitely be more harmful than helpful. However, you can avoid these risks by having a FileMaker developer build a customized database, rather than asking an IT department create a spreadsheet-based log that is vulnerable to mistakes. It's rather simple to switch information from a program like Excel to database software, so there's no need to worry about losing data. In addition to having cleaner and more user-friendly aesthetics, a secure FileMaker-based program can be built to store all sorts of information from pictures to intricate financial records reliably.

Contact a FileMaker consultant that can share more information about the problems you may be experiencing due to inaccurate spreadsheets, and how a custom database can not only solve those issues, but prevent them from happening in the future.