Tracking your team’s progress on tasks is crucial, but using email or spreadsheets to do so won’t give you the best results. Businesses rarely use a dedicated approval system for their tasks and processes. After all, if there are free tools, such as spreadsheets or email correspondence, they’re content to stick with those options. Excel remains a staple in industries, with 99.99 percent of businesses using it regularly. From updating stored data and forecasting trends to finance and accounting work, spreadsheets have dominated the workplace.
Aside from having no operational costs, spreadsheets and email enable all staff to use them without specialized training. There’s also no need to learn a new process, as all staffs are familiar with these tools. But while spreadsheet and email tracking may work at first, issues eventually arise down the line that can severely affect your organization’s results.
The hidden pitfalls of Excel or Email
Understandably, businesses would want free tools to conduct day-to-day tasks. But these tools, while useful, are not enough to support a growing company. Here are a few reasons why tracking via Excel or email won’t work in the long run.
Too much manual effort
As businesses expand their products or services, they’ll have more processes to manage. Tracking all these processes in one spreadsheet can quickly become overwhelming. Excel may have comprehensive formulas and analytical features, but it’s more suitable for static or historical data analysis. Spreadsheets won’t provide you with the efficiency you need when it comes to evolving data. With email, teams can refer to past conversations, which is great for tracking. However, there’s no centralized portal for progress tracking.
Inefficient real-time updating
Spreadsheets enable you to set up a specific sheet, which all your team members can access and make changes. This is fine for simple workflows. But when several projects need to be tracked simultaneously, the team leader will have a hard time checking all sheets.
In addition, it’s not easy to know the status of an issue. You’ll only have the info on who did the last edit on the spreadsheet. In one survey, as high as 97 percent of employees lose sleep over possible mistakes, missed deadlines, and other spreadsheet concerns.
Email is even more complicated when it comes to updates. You’d have to dig through dozens of emails to analyze a particular issue or if you need to refer to an update. It takes time and energy, which will ultimately affect productivity.
No quality checks
For departments that let multiple staff access a single spreadsheet, tracking can be a nightmare. From overwriting files and accidental duplicating to time delays when waiting for another member to finish inputting their part, tracking and checking become inefficient.
Excel can let several team members access a particular sheet, but cross-checking all edits and inputs is hard under the platform. Email isn’t built for tracking as well. Since it’s mainly designed for communication, it won’t support tracking.
Using spreadsheets or email makes your projects vulnerable to mistakes and inconsistencies. The manual checks that must be done take too much time and have a higher chance of errors.
Approval System Is the Key
The pitfalls in using spreadsheets and email can hinder your business’s progress. The best way to increase efficiency is to move beyond these limited tools and use a dedicated approval system.
An approval system is any software that can outline and streamline the company’s approval process. It’s tailor-fit for an organization’s workflow, so it can consolidate updates and approvals more efficiently.
Benefits of an Approval System
Businesses that want to scale their operations can enjoy the advantages that come with an approval system. These include:
Reduces manual errors
An automated approval system ensures data is error-free and copied correctly. It allows teams to have a clear view of input and changes, if there are any. Once the requests for approval are submitted, the software enables tracking of real-time changes which makes it easy for members to stay informed about every development.
Using a dedicated approval system improves the workflow and enables staff to use time more efficiently. Instead of getting bogged down with manual checking of spreadsheet data or searching for that email reply from a client, the approval system has a consolidated platform for all the pertinent information and updates. Moreover, an approval system can track issues easily, allowing them to be addressed right away.
Ensures quality and compliance
An approval system supports finance departments regarding future audits. Because data is easily retrieved, free from human errors, and trackable by authorized staff, your organization is confident that you always have accurate and reliable audit trails.
Businesses limit their productivity when they stick to spreadsheets and email to track output. Switching to an approval system can facilitate accurate record-keeping, team collaboration, and compliance. If you’re aiming to improve your workflow, implement something more efficient like an approval system. It isn’t just a convenient solution; it’s a must-have feature for businesses that want to streamline their processes and make better use of the limited time employees have.