Many companies use a variety of spreadsheets or home-grown applications to sort out, store, and manage their financial data. Either approach is very flexible and capable of doing almost anything. Unfortunately, that very flexibility makes it difficult to develop reusable reports or dashboards that provide the correct visibility into the business, and that are readily available. When executives or auditors require information on the financial state of a company, getting that information usually entails a high-value resource with strong knowledge of the spreadsheets used to track this information developing a custom, one-time report. Though this report can provide a great deal of intelligence on where the company stands, it typically requires time and effort to construct, and often has limited reuse potential. Too, this report will often represent a snap-shot in time; by the time the report is constructed, it is very possible that the financial picture has already changed.
Some companies need a robust billing and/or revenue management solution. Others don’t. If you run a small to medium-sized business with traditional accounting procedures and a simple billing structure, your business needs can probably met by Microsoft Excel or a generic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system like Oracle, SAP, or Microsoft Dynamics.
Conventional spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel are fine for small businesses with simple billing procedures and uncomplicated revenue streams. Spreadsheets may be time-consuming to manage, but they'll carry out the required calculations and provide you with straightforward data.
In many ways, spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel are the backbone of the business world. With a little ingenuity, they handle everything from project management to employee expenses -- the ideal tool for companies that may not be ready to commit to a full-blown ERP system.