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Alternative to Excel: Business budgeting software

August 11, 2020
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Business budgeting software is an alternative to Excel - offering a large suite of advantages over spreadsheets. Regardless of the type of business you manage, your modeling, scalability and security reach their highest levels when you use business budgeting software instead of relying on spreadsheets. While spreadsheets are powerful tools, this more advanced software is a higher evolutionary step toward making your business more successful.

Here are seven advantages to using business budgeting software as an alternative to Excel:

Model Creation

Spreadsheets allow you to construct powerful financial models. Unfortunately, this is a completely manual process that can involve numerous links, macros and formulas that can become broken easily. The process is painstaking, and it requires a nearly “software engineer” level of detail to accomplish properly. As a busy executive, you may not have time to be so careful with formula design. By contrast, the integrated business and financial logic functions of dedicated budgeting software as an alternative to Excel allows you to generate reports that dynamically update and that are pre-programmed for your convenience.

Reliability and Scale

Every time you update a spreadsheet, it becomes more complicated and more likely to fail. Even copying and pasting the same formulas gives you the risk of errors that you must carefully check to ensure your company’s budget is maintained accurately. Scaling up to enterprise level can be a daunting task. By contrast, with dedicated budgeting software you have virtually no limits on the amount of data you can enter. The integrity of your data remains solid no matter how large your company or how much information you need to enter.

Formula Introduction

Spreadsheets thrive on formulas, and every formula presents numerous occasions for errors. Every error anyone on the team makes can cost your company tremendous sums of money and time, as well as potentially imposing penalties with regard to payroll, arrangements with clients and with the government. Properly designed budgeting software, as an alternative to Excel, does not require you to enter formulas. You can focus on analyzing and acting upon your results with confidence instead of scrutinizing every line of a spreadsheet.

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Accurate Data

Data requires accuracy and integrity. With spreadsheets, every cell can contain any data, which can easily be corrupted by even the smallest of human errors. Using effective budgeting software, stakeholders can add assumptions that can be verified across the board with consistency. The structure of this software allows the administrator to control the entire environment, which keeps the data and assumptions consistent and clear.

Group Accountability

If you have ever attempted to keep a spreadsheet accurate when more than one person contributes to it, you know how challenging this can be. You may even resort to emailing the spreadsheet from person to person on a regular basis, similar to the children’s game “telephone.” Rather like that game, there is almost invariably a break in the data when one person is unavailable for any reason. Worse, if someone involved in the spreadsheet leaves your company, the chain can be compromised, which can take months of forensic accounting to sort through. As an alternative to Excel, budgeting software is different from spreadsheets in that it can be centrally hosted, and each contributor’s contribution is known and added instantly. There is no “editing” required on the administrator’s part.


Managing the security settings on a spreadsheet can be a logistical nightmare that grows larger with each cell. Every workbook, every worksheet and every cell must have individual passwords that must be changed regularly. This is crucial to keeping unauthorized individuals from seeing information they are not privy to and for keeping authorized users from mistakenly changing something important, which can be as easy as entering their relevant information in the wrong cell. Budgeting software removes this problem by keeping user roles and security protocols within the individual’s realm of responsibility. This prevents tampering and minimizes the potential for errors to a given user’s area, which they can correct quickly once the error is spotted. These security features also limit how many errors a given user can make, which keeps the burden of reporting much smaller for each individual.

Thorough Documentation and Simplified Training

By definition, every spreadsheet is individual and custom-designed. While you can create your own documentation, this is challenging and takes time away from important decision making. You also have to allocate time when introducing anyone to the spreadsheet to explain it in detail. Budgeting software differs from this because there is professional documentation provided. Because the documentation is professionally produced, you can save a large amount of time that would otherwise be spent training new or transferred employees in the use of this budgeting software.

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