Minimize headaches at reorganizations

author Edgar de Wit

Creating reports for departments is a lot of work if you depend on spreadsheets.

It becomes even more problematic when your company decides to reorganize. It may turn your entire reporting system upside down.

In this article, I'll explain the 2 most common methods finance departments use to create monthly reports, and which problems they typically encounter during a reorganization. And I will give you much better alternative.

Why would you use spreadsheets to create financial reports?

The most common reason is flexibility.

Your colleagues in other departments may not want standard reports.

They often want to know more about the state of their department. Have they hit their sales targets? What was their absenteeism rate? Are their expenses within budget? How are their projects going?

You can’t get that information from one system. You need more data sources: the HR system, CRM system, sales data etc. You may even have to collect the information manually.

A spreadsheet gives the flexibility to bring all these different sources together. That works fine for just a few departments. But as your company is growing, this becomes near impossible.

The 2 methods (both painful)

Creating reports in spreadsheets is typically done using 2 methods. Each has its pros and cons. And they are both not ideal in the long run.

Method 1: Build one common spreadsheet

A master spreadsheet contains all reports and formulas for your reporting process. You put the raw source data in one tab. And with a mryiad of SUMIFS and LOOKUP formulas (maybe with macros) you do the job.

You select a department somewhere, and your report shows the numbers for that department. Then you print the output to a printer or PDF file. You select the next department, and repeat the process. And so forth.

Creating all these PDFs is time-consuming, and the spreadsheet is complex and fragile. Often there is only 1 person who really knows how it works.

Method 2: Build separate spreadsheets for each report

At first, you may like the flexibility of this. But you double your work and maintenance enormously. Each file must be built, updated, and checked individually. Every single time. It becomes unworkable very quickly.

And then .. your company reorganizes

You have spent so much time building your reports. But spreadsheets can not cope with big changes, such as a reorganization, cost centres changes etc. Often, you'll have to start all over again.

The better alternative: automated reporting without spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are useful, but they are not best for reporting. You need good reporting software, with the same flexibility but easier to manage, and with integration to other systems.

XLReporting can do this. It has the flexibility of a spreadsheet, with the power of an integrated database. All web-based, and easy to manage.

Budget model department

You maintain your organizational structure in a master table. When things change, you simply change your master table in the desired way. Your reports are automatically updated.

You no longer have to manually generate the monthly reports. You simply give your colleagues a login to XLReporting and they can look at the numbers themselves. At any time they want.

Are you in a reorganization or is one coming up? Now is a good time to change your reporting process.

Do you want to learn how you can simplify your reporting process? Our XLReporting team can help you.

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