In years past, Microsoft Excel was one of the favored programs for many property managers to handle their accounting functions. The reasons were many. For one, it’s affordable, as it comes bundled with other Office functions. Excel is also feature-rich, providing the ability to create graphs, calculate complex formulas and store a lot of information in an organized fashion. The thing is, times have changed and given the many options available today, using Excel for accounting is no longer as beneficial as it once was. In fact, it could actually be harming your property management business. Here’s how.
Anyone who has attempted to use Excel knows that there is certainly a learning steep curve, especially when it comes to the more complex features such as macros and formulas. You may have mastered it through practice, but what kind of business continuity plan do you have should you need someone else to step in and handle your business’ accounting duties in your absence? Smart property managers use accounting software that is intuitive, easy to use and quick to train.
Functionality Falls Short
Sure, you can make spreadsheets and charts galore with Excel, but what about the important stuff, like financial statements and invoices? These are critical documents that you need in order to properly run your business and also relay your professionalism to your customers. What about other key accounting functions, such as payment processing and batching? Simply put, when it comes to functionality, Excel always falls short.
Time is Money
One thing about using Excel for anything is that it can be tremendously time-consuming and labor intensive. Everything has to be entered manually, and there is often the need for double and sometimes even triple entries. Imagine what you could accomplish if you or your accounting team could use all of that time focusing on other, more important business matters – like growing your business! Accounting software is specifically designed to automate manual tasks and improve efficiency.
Increased Risk of Costly Errors
Another downside to manual work is the increased risk of human error. When you’ve got someone keying in numbers all day, it’s easy to make a mistake. Unfortunately, when it comes to the financials of your business, one little keying error could prove to be quite costly. Accounting software inherently contains a series of checks and balances and can help cut down on human errors exponentially.
Lack of Security
Whenever you’re dealing with financial information, you want to be sure it’s as secure as possible. Excel doesn’t have anything spectacular when it comes to security features, other than password protect. What’s more, if you’re faced with an audit down the road, gathering the information you need will be a nightmare – especially if what you’re looking for somehow got deleted or misplaced. You need quality software that is designed to keep important data safe and secure, and make it easily accessible if and when you need it.
Lack of Share-Ability
Another downside to using Excel is its lack of share-ability. It is housed on one computer where only one person can access it, and must be shared via email, which makes it vulnerable. With software, you’ll have a centralized database where anyone with the appropriate level of access can log on and work from anywhere.
In short, while Excel is certainly a valuable program in a lot of ways, it’s simply not up to par when it comes to managing the all-important function of accounting for your business. What’s more, when you’re wasting precious time manually processing things and have an increased risk of human error, the money you thought you were saving by using Excel actually ends up costing you more in the long run. If you want to remain competitive, professional and successful, you simply must invest in a quality software product.
Find out what more you can do to boost the productivity of your property management business. Download a free copy of The Property Manager’s Guide to Maximizing Productivity.