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Spreadsheet growing pains

In my LinkedIn feed there seems to be a lot of posts about automating processes so that your business “back office” runs seamlessly in the cloud without apparently needing much human input.

This is great: who doesn’t love getting computers to do the dull and boring processing (which basically amounts to copying) freeing us humans up to do more valuable (and hopefully more interesting) work?

But what about the recording that can’t be automated?

Sometimes it’s good to record figures manually, even when it comes to accounts. I have a client who could happily automate their purchase ledger, saving time and money, but they would rather process purchase invoices manually in order to check that the invoices are correct and keep an eye on spending.

And sometimes there is no off the shelf package to record and analyse the figures just the way you want to, and that’s usually where excel comes in. Just before Christmas I was working on a project with a different client who has a totally bespoke spreadsheet to manage her sales team’s pipelines and another to record productivity information for a team of 50. Once again, while it may be possible to find “an app for that” there is a lot of value in keying in the data by hand.

However the principles of automation still apply to spreadsheets; it’s worth entering the data once, but more than once is a waste of time and gives rise to potential errors. In the case before Christmas part of the project was to condense 26 separate spreadsheets into just the 1.

I’ve waited to post about this until we have had a chance to review the success of the new set up, but yesterday the office manager told me how grateful the team are that their workload has been transformed! So if you rely on spreadsheets, but you’re starting to think that as your business grows they’re not working quite so well then give me a call and we can review your system and make it work more effectively.

Case Studies launched!

Recently I have been working on a series of case studies to give a more in depth look at how my support has helped my clients achieve their business goals, and have more confidence that they are making the right choices.

This was one of my New Year’s resolutions because sometimes I find it difficult to explain what I do. Every client gets a slightly different service depending on the challenges that they are facing at the time.

The first case study featured the wonderful Paula Golby and her team at Cooper Golding Recruitment. Cooper Golding has experienced phenomenal growth over the last few years and was shortlisted for best business growth at the 2019 North Devon Business Awards. Paula knows exactly how her business works but making the right decisions in a rapidly growing business requires reliable information that easily provides answers to the questions that the sales team ask.

You can read the case study here: Case Study: Supporting Business Growth This case study was also featured in the August edition of Business Action magazine!

The next one featured Jim Humphrey at Ecocleen SW. Jim took over a franchise for the South West area in 2016 and by seizing various opportunities managed to grow sales five fold over the following 3 years. This sales growth led to issues with cashflow, as is often the case in any business, and so Jim needed good information to help secure additional funding as well as to make sure that the business was profitable.

Find out more here: Case Study: Managing Cashflow

There are a few more case studies in the pipeline, and hopefully more opportunities to help business owners manage their finances.