Advantages of using TEM software vs. traditional Excel spreadsheets

Technology has evolved to bring better functionality and streamline legacy business processes. However, many organizations are still relying on their current tools to facilitate their needs rather than moving on to more advanced solutions. In fact, a Ventana Research survey found that although 49 percent of respondents were aware of better alternatives to Excel, they were still using the program for critical finance functions, TechTarget reported.

Excel has outlived its usefulness for expense management, but users hesitate to move away from it due to fear of change or weak business cases for a new system. Telecom expense management software has been purpose-built to handle communications costs and adhere to business requirements. There are a number of advantages that organizations can realize by using TEM software instead of traditional Excel spreadsheets.

Centralized data

Excel spreadsheets are typically owned and managed by one user. These documents must be emailed or transferred via USB in order for another person to view or edit them. However, this type of sharing creates two living versions of a spreadsheet that can become inconsistent as more information is added to them. TechTarget’s Emma Snider noted that collecting data at different times as well as additions or deletions can create significant variances across Excel sheets.

With TEM software, all of the information can be entered and accessed from one centralized location. This establishes a single accurate, traceable record for business processes and expenses. Organizations can achieve a higher level of visibility and take back governance of their costs. A dedicated TEM solution also ensures that data is presented in a controlled manner. Employees will be more accountable for their entries and modifications.

Better reporting capabilities

Excel garnered popularity for its usability, but its lack of advanced features can have a real impact on business operations. For example, organizations might set up a sheet with all of their telecom operating expenses to track over a full quarter. It’s easy enough to monitor the numbers for one site or a few expenditures. Things become significantly more complicated if a business has multiple locations and a lengthy number of active communications services to watch over. If this data is strewn across a number of different spreadsheets, it’s impossible for Excel to bring them together for reporting purposes, creating gaps in visibility.

TEM software rises up to the challenge with advanced reporting capabilities. As TechTarget contributor Barry Wilderman noted, expense projects need an application with an accessible database, budgeting features, and report-writing functions. TEM software presents information in a number of forms from charts and graphs to basic numbers. These displays can help identify the flow of money to communications services and areas where spending can be cut.

Streamlined alerts and approvals

“TEM software gives precious time back to employees.”

Human error is always a possibility for expense management in Excel spreadsheets. For this reason, 65 percent of companies manually review their expenses for policy violations, Skift reported. However, if an organization has a number of different sources and numbers to work with, it can be extremely difficult to determine what information is erroneous.

Using Excel for invoice approval and management also takes up a significant amount of time. In fact, according to Snider, Excel users spent 12 hours each month consolidating, modifying, and correcting spreadsheets. That’s about one and a half business days dedicated to finding and fixing potential errors. To make matters worse, many mistakes aren’t discovered and can impact business operations.

With a centralized data repository, TEM software gives precious time back to employees and actively monitors invoices for variances and other issues. Organizations can also take advantage of automated processes for invoice approval and other operations. If any problem appears, TEM solutions can send notifications to the user and business managers. This type of feedback enables users to act quickly and effectively.

Excel spreadsheets are a relic of legacy operations that produce errors and inaccurate information. TEM software has a number of advantages over the traditional tools, making a clear business case for better TEM solutions.

About the Author: Brittany Peckham