Problems Faced in Using Excel for Invoicing with Solutions

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08 min read

“Excel” is a word that is synonymous with data handling in the world today. It is a tool most commonly used in the workplace, carrying out functions of sorting, filtering, organising and presenting data in a structured format.

Problems faced in excel for invoicing

The following are the few problems that a business can face when used excel for the invoicing:

1. Load handling

Although excel is a popularly useful tool even today, it does come with its fair share of problems. One such issue is load handling. The more data in the spreadsheet, the harder it is to work on it since its load-bearing ability isn’t the best. If the data entered in the particular spreadsheet is voluminous, there is a high chance that the file will lag and make the programme relatively slow. Moreover, the VBA tool in excel is relatively sluggish, which means it isn’t the best to work on.

2. Problems with security and control

Excel has a tendency to round off large numbers, which leads to arithmetical inaccuracy. Therefore, in a situation where the employees make any changes to the invoice data, there is a high potential for errors and inaccuracies to exist. These errors and inconsistencies often go unnoticed and are usually very difficult to trace. Moreover, since excel is a standalone application, the control features are insufficient, thus making tracking and coordination a major hassle for the managers and other key personnel.

3. Vulnerable to fraud and human error

A simple arithmetical error such as a missing negative sign could cause significant alterations to the data, thus resulting in misleading information. It is found that, on average, every 20 cells will contain at least one human error. The lack of control features, as mentioned above, are what makes excel prone to fraud and corruption. Since there are no proper security features in place, the data may be easily manipulated, fictitious vouchers may be created with minimal effort, thus painting a very different picture of business operations. The lack of security also enables fraudsters and embezzlers to carry out their acts with ease.

4. Consolidation is laborious

Consolidation in Excel is a highly tedious task. Data has to be collected from different files, summarised and organised suitably for presentation. Moreover, once the data is summarised, it will have to be cross-checked to ensure no errors during the consolidation process. This entire process tends to result in a wastage of time and manpower.

5. Troubleshooting and testing complications

Spreadsheets and testing do not go hand in hand. They are not built for testing purposes. Interrelated data is often found spread across different files, folders and locations. While it may be possible to locate the related files, tracing, testing and making sense of the various formulae and their relationships with the various cells is tedious and time-consuming. 

6. Obstructive to regulatory compliance

Over the years, various regulatory compliances have come into effect that directly impacts spreadsheet-based data. However, excel is still very much a dinosaur when it comes to adherence to regulatory compliances.

7. Not designed for collaborative work and quick decision making

Excel was not built for collaborative work. While attempts may be made to collaborate over a single spreadsheet, there is a relatively high potential for errors such as duplication or incorrect data being fed into the spreadsheet, thus setting off a chain of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the spreadsheet. There is a need for extra vigilance to be followed by everyone, which leads to double-triple checking carried out by each person in the organisation. This activity leads to a waste of time and resources, thus slowing down the decision making process.

8. Data validation and navigation

While computer systems are quite accurate with calculations, the inevitable human error is still an ever-present threat to data inaccuracies. Excel is only as good as the data fed into it, and here is where human error could cause a problem. However, functionalities such as data validation do help solve the issue to an extent. More often than not, data validation acts more as a barrier than a helping hand. This is because they are difficult to maintain since they are more inflexible than sophisticated.

A simple difference in spelling in the invoices such as “Frank and Co” and “Franck and Co” will be treated differently, leading to different populated results, while it is quite clear that it refers to the same person. This results in the integrity of the data being fatally compromised, thus making it unreliable.

Solutions to combat the issues

Today, various tools surpass the basic functionalities that Excel provides. Additionally, the available products also solve most of the issues that crop up when one uses excel.

Tools such as ClearOne is a customised e-invoicing software that enables businesses to carry out these tasks effectively. The standout features are as follows:-

  • Documents can be shared on WhatsApp, emails or even as an invoice link, thus making accessibility easy.
  • The ClearOne web app can be synced with the ClearOne data app, thus facilitating convenience.
  • Since the data is shared on the cloud with SSL encryption, security is not an issue.
  • A report of all invoices can be generated, which eases the burden of consolidation.