Are you, your department, or your company caught in a tangled jungle of spreadsheets? Are you tired of downloading data from your accounting software into Excel?

Beware: You may be putting your data and your company at risk. Here are just a few of the risks that you’re flirting with:

Lack of backup. When users download data, then manipulate it and report on it using spreadsheets, that data may not be backed up. If the spreadsheet is deleted or lost, you may not be able to re-create it.

Broken formulas and/or spreadsheet links. One mistake or typing misstep could cause hours of research and frustration trying to determine the source of the error.

Subject to human error. When data is taken out of the context of your accounting system, logical errors and errors of omission are more likely to occur. You’re shortcutting the checks and balances that are built into your automated system.

Misstatement of data. Accidentally or otherwise, spreadsheets allow rows to be deleted and cells and formulas to be modified. No one wants to present financial or operational information that is inaccurate.

Lack of security.Your accounting software has security built-in. For example, with Sage Accpac ERP’s “G/L Security” feature, you can restrict which general ledger accounts, departments, etc. users can access and view. Once the data is out of your accounting system, you’ve opened yourself up to a security breach.

The solution to these potential risks? Use your accounting software and its reporting tools to produce information directly from your accounting software. A wide variety of tools exist to help you with this. In Sage Accpac ERP, for example, your options include:

  • Financial Reporter–Excel-based financial reporting tool
  • General Ledger Consolidations module
  • Financial Link Pro reporting tool
  • Custom reports and dashboards created with Accpac Intelligence (coming this fall in Sage Accpac ERP version 5.6)
  • Custom reports created with Crystal Reports
  • Custom reports created with Stonefield Query

Of course, you will need to consider data security issues with these tools, as well as validate the output that they produce. However, you will certainly reduce your risks of lost or misstated data by climbing out of the “spreadsheet jungle.”

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