The truth is that many companies still don’t realize they’re stuck in the past. Paper forms and Excel spreadsheets seem like a cheap way to audit and document, therefore, simple and accessible moving to more sophisticated digital tools such as audit checklist templates can seem like an investment you can put off. However, paper-based manual processes are costly in the long run.
The problem with paper-based manual processes is that they are time-consuming and expensive. They require additional staff and increase the company’s costs both in terms of payroll and training new employees for the process. It can be tedious for them to review multiple documents to ensure accuracy; even the cost of bad data is 15% to 25% of revenue for most companies.
If you’re taking notes on paper and clipboards in the field, you’ll have to transfer everything to your computer afterwards, doubling your work. It makes it possible to take a picture of the result. This means you have to manually upload them to your report. And if all this work has to be repeated manually, it is subject to human error, which can quickly lead to incorrect calculations and inaccurate data. Also, manual data entry is prone to inconsistencies, especially when different people submit separate reports. According to IFIAR’s research, the frequency of inspections with at least one finding has fallen from 42% in 2016 to 32% in 2020.
This shows organizations need to adopt digital auditing systems.
However; using a paper site audit template does not allow you to easily customize the report to meet your company’s unique needs. Everyone does their best, but everyone has their own style and method of documentation. Many of these discrepancies are related to naming conventions.
Disadvantages of Using Spreadsheet Auditing In a Business
Vulnerable To Fraud
All the spreadsheet drawbacks are listed here, but this one is probably the most detrimental. Unauthorized tampering with corporate Excel files has already cost billions of dollars. The main reason spreadsheets have this vulnerability is their inherent lack of control. This makes it easy for formulas, values, or dependencies to change without detection.
Prone To Minor Human Errors
Fraud has always been a threat to spreadsheet systems, but there is a more serious threat that should seriously consider getting rid of these outdated systems. And it is highly vulnerable to even minor human error. Overlooked negative signs and unaligned lines may sound harmless.
But if they erode investor confidence or slash million-dollar opportunities, you need to understand that it’s time to move on to better alternatives.
Difficult To Troubleshoot and Test
So how about testing your spreadsheet to mitigate the risks of points 1 and 2? That’s not what the spreadsheet was created for. It’s not uncommon to have related spreadsheet data spread across different folders, workstations, offices, or geographic locations.
Worse, even if you could pinpoint the location of all the relevant files, tracing the logic of a formula from one relevant cell to another could take a significant amount of time. It is obvious that similar problems arise while troubleshooting questionable data.
Barriers to Regulatory Compliance
What do you get when you combine points 1, 2, and 3? Critical issues are impacting regulatory compliance. There are many regulations that seriously affect the use of spreadsheets.
Over the past 20 years, you must have seen a series of regulations directly impacting spreadsheet systems. If you’re still using spreadsheets, there’s certainly a better way.
Not Suitable For Agile Business Practices
This world is going through a time of great change, shaping and reshaping the business landscape. Mergers and acquisitions, management takeovers, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, riots, climate change, new technologies, and more. If a business is not agile enough to adapt to such changes, it can easily fall behind or face extinction.
Spreadsheets are typically created by people with little knowledge of software documentation. Ultimately, spreadsheet files become highly personalized and user-developed applications. So when it comes time for a new person to take over as part of a major corporate transformation, they may have to start from scratch.
Not Designed For Collaboration
Planning, forecasting, budgeting, and reporting are all common activities. This means that plans, forecasts, budgets, and reports typically require information from different people from different departments. Moreover, the final document is the result of multiple exchanges of data, ideas, and files. If your company has offices spread across the country or if certain team members are far away, email is the only way to share data stored in spreadsheets.
Experience has shown that such exchange methods tend to duplicate or corrupt data. Team members usually have a hard time keeping track of similar files coming and going and sometimes even submit the wrong version.
Difficult to Integrate
Spreadsheets are highly favoured by end users when it comes to easy data entry and quick ad-hoc data analysis tasks. This has made them one of the most ubiquitous office tools in the world. However, as a result, data in table-based systems are distributed throughout the organization.
So when creating reports, you have to go through a slow integration process. In most cases, end users collect and aggregate data from various files and send it to department heads via email, portable storage devices (such as CDs or USB sticks), or by copying them to a shared network folder must be sent to Department heads. They must go through a similar process before submitting to their managers. This should continue until all information reaches the organization’s top decision-makers. Throughout the integration process, data performs many error-prone activities, such as copying and pasting, filling cells, and specifying ranges.
Inability to Support Rapid Decision-Making
In a spreadsheet-based environment, extracting and consolidating data from different departments, collating the information, and enabling company executives to make informed decisions can be very time-consuming. There are cases. And knowing how error-prone spreadsheets can be, everyone involved in information processing must take great care to maintain data integrity. Therefore, it is wise to double-check whenever possible.
This extra but necessary practice can further slow down the process. So when the final information falls into the hands of the Top manager, he may not have much time to process it.
Unsuitable for business continuity
As mentioned earlier, the data in the spreadsheet system is never stored in one place. It’s the exact opposite. The worst part about this is it’s always in the hands of non-IT personnel who are understandably unfamiliar with storage and backup best practices.
As organizations grow, data in spreadsheet-based systems become more distributed. As a result, the above problem is exacerbated. It is definitely not recommended for large organizations to stick with spreadsheets.
Advantages of digital tools
Inspection and audit software is a digital tool designed to increase the consistency of data collection. These tools have required fields, drop-down menus, and menus to ensure everyone performs the audit the same way every time. A key feature of these project management apps is time stamps and electronic signatures that effectively track user activity. You can also include the site’s GPS location to prove that the inspection occurred where you claim it took place.
Most devices come with cameras, so you can easily attach images to your reports. Add notes and comments directly. You can also distribute reports to mailing lists and receive notifications and reminders using the same device that records information and photos.
Manual data can get stuck in process bottlenecks or get in shared drives. Communicating results more efficiently and quickly not only helps you achieve compliance but also enables you to communicate quality and safety issues faster. If want prompting immediate corrective action. So, if you are looking for a digital checklist template and project management services at a reasonable price, get in touch with UrAudits.