Blue buildings against a blue sky 1200x800
Blue buildings against a blue sky 1200x800

Why are spreadsheets an inadequate substitute for construction accounting software?

Companies that have been using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to organize their financial information may be hesitant to make upgrades, because this current system isn’t technically “broken.”

That assessment, however, ignores the worst-kept secret in business: Construction companies handling their financials in spreadsheets are unable to perform accurate forecasting, and at greater risk of human error introducing problems to essential data.

A staggering 91% of construction companies still use spreadsheets at some stage of financial planning, budgeting or forecasting.

The following are three reasons for these contractors to rethink their approach and adopt purpose-built software such as CMiC Accounting & Financial controls:

  1. Manually entered data invites errors. With nearly 9 in 10 manually updated spreadsheets containing errors, it’s easy to see the impact these everyday mistakes can have. A typo can have an effect on a whole data set. Productivity will fall and demands on employees will increase as the team scrambles to correct the error and make the records accurate.

  2. High-level analytics aren’t possible with standard spreadsheets. Detailed dashboards and compelling drill-downs into data can deliver insights that help organizations make value-adding financial forecasts. Looking at a standard spreadsheet full of numbers is far less compelling than seeing a visualization generated by a modern analytics program.

  3. Data without real-time updates can give inaccurate impressions. Executives and managers both need access to up-to-date figures based on the current status of a job, with 78% and 89% of them, respectively, saying this data is important for their success. Accounting software integrated with solutions such as human capital management and asset management can receive automatic updates from the job site. Spreadsheets demand 12-18 hours of updates per month to stay relatively current, and even with this productivity-sapping maintenance, they can’t match the accuracy and relevance of real-time financial information systems.

With an infusion of new construction management software, companies can counteract these problems, potentially boosting productivity 14-15% and realizing 4-6% cost savings through reduced errors and added real-time visibility.