Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 3: What changed?

Have you outgrown spreadsheets? Part 3: What changed?

business / spreadsheets

Do you know what happened to your business data over time?

Depending on your industry, it may be a legal requirement for you to be able to audit data changes for compliance reasons. In any case, it is often useful to be able to see when a record was last updated to get an idea of how accurate it is likely to be; find out who updated it last so you can speak to them about the information you see; or even view the exact changes that happened in a particular update.

This article is the third in a multi-part series explaining how spreadsheets can start to become a liability as your company grows, and how investing in bespoke systems can alleviate these issues, as well as bringing additional benefits.

Maybe you have an Excel wizard who could create something using VBA or maybe a fancy formula that could provide something that would let you get by, but that will need to be added to every single spreadsheet you need to have auditing capability, and you have to be very careful that the functionality isn’t accidentally broken when less technical users work with the spreadsheet.

As you would expect, investing in a custom system means that you can have exactly the auditing capability that you require. Recording the date and time a record was created and last updated is a simple task and this information can be displayed in the system itself or as part of reports. You could even have an automated email that is sent to staff if a record hasn’t been updated within a certain timeframe—perhaps suggesting the data could be starting to become out of date.

A more complicated, but thorough, approach could store a record of every single change so that all changes can be seen and even allow the restoration of a previous version if an accident was made.

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With nearly a decade of professional development experience, I have worked in the educational sector with the University of Cambridge, and with many private sector companies, including 118 118.