Spreadsheets are excellent calculators – but aren’t always great for managing jobs.
Yet, many service businesses use spreadsheets to manage their entire job cycle (from lead management, to time tracking, to reporting and everything in between) and experience a common set of challenges that can cause inefficiencies, frustration and lack of insight.
We’ve outlined five telltale signs that indicate your service business could improve business results by switching from spreadsheets to software for job management.
1. Your team works from multiple versions of job data
A system of multiple spreadsheets lacks a central location to store job-related data and documents, and as a result, information is usually stored in multiple locations, such as various worksheets, cloud storage and email.
Not only do staff members spend a lot of time tracking down the right information for a project or client, it’s difficult to ensure that the information you have is accurate.
Given how easy it is for anyone to copy or modify information, or make a mistake with a formula or data entry, research suggests that close to 90% of spreadsheets contain errors.
Job management software provides one central location to store all job-related information, so your team has easy access to the right information and your database remains accurate and secure.
2. You lack visibility into job progress
Having visibility into job progress is essential for running a successful service business. Knowing how your jobs are progressing enables you to identify potential problems and make necessary adjustments to deliver your jobs on schedule.
Given that spreadsheets are tedious and time consuming to maintain, they often reflect outdated information and don’t provide a real-time picture of how your jobs are progressing.
If you’re finding it difficult to understand the status of your jobs (for example, if your jobs are running on budget or if your staff are operating at capacity), it’s likely because your spreadsheet system doesn’t provide easy, real-time visibility into job progress.
With features like work-in-progress reporting and staff scheduling, job management software enables you to quickly understand job status and keep your finger on the pulse of your projects.
3. You don’t have the right business insight to make informed decisions
The ability to make informed decisions depends on the quality of data you have about your business. For example, producing an accurate cost estimate for an upcoming project requires that you leverage time tracking and cost data from previous projects.
Aggregating data from multiple spreadsheets is time consuming, highly manual and requires a substantial amount of expertise with data analytics. (Plus, as mentioned above, reports from spreadsheets are likely to contain errors which reduce the validity of your insights.)
If it’s difficult to get the right business insights you need, when you need them, it’s a sign that you might benefit from software for job tracking and reporting.
One of the greatest benefits of job management software is the ability to use job data to efficiently generate reports (for example, WorkflowMax reporting features enable you to customise reports and pull critical insights into almost every aspect of the jobs that you perform.) Better reporting tools help you work smarter and gain necessary insights into productivity, performance, workflow and profitability.
4. Your business lacks process consistency
Spreadsheets are designed to be completely customisable – there are endless ways to organise, format and display information. While this functionality is useful for financial modelling, it’s problematic for creating repeatable processes and consistency across your jobs.
Teams that use spreadsheets for job management often find it difficult to maintain process consistency or end up with overly complicated workflows.
Job management software is designed to help standardise the way your business tracks time, tasks, costs and other data, so you can increase efficiency and produce reliable results.
5. You want to increase efficiency and improve business performance
While spreadsheets may have done the trick to help get operations off the ground, for all the reasons mentioned above, they lack key functionality to manage jobs effectively. Consequently, ineffective job management can limit your ability to take your business where you want it to go.
If you’re looking to grow and evolve your business, it’s important that your core systems and processes are supporting your success.
Job management software provides an easy way for your team to capture and leverage job data, sync data across other business tools (such as accounting or payroll software) and continually improve operations.
Making the switch to job management software
If your business is experiencing some or all of these challenges and you’re ready to learn more about making the switch to job management software, we’re here to help.
We’ve created a free guide (including six downloadable templates) to help your business plan your software implementation and prepare your database for a smooth transition.
Changing the way you run your business can be daunting, but with the right support and assistance, you’ll be experiencing the benefits of improved job management before you know it.