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SMEs stunted by spreadsheet woes

Some people love spreadsheets, it's a fact. It's also a fact that a lot of people dislike spreadsheets, and for companies that use them every day, their less-than-efficient aspect can be a hindrance to growth.

Or so says research from Intuit – an online accounting software provider – in an investigation of 200 UK small businesses.

The research suggests that an overreliance on inefficient spreadsheets is distracting SME owners from actually running and growing their business, half the respondents admitting that they waste somewhere between 30 minutes and six hours a week dealing with spreadsheet issues.

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More than 50 per cent of participants admitted frustration at not having more time to focus on their families, and on the future growth of their business.

"Financial management should be quick and easy; it should be more about gaining insights and adding value to identify new opportunities. It shouldn't be a hassle," said Rich Preece, VP and MD of Intuit UK.

"As a small business owner, it's imperative that you get an insight into how your business is performing, particularly into cash flow. Spreadsheets just weren't designed for this; you need to be an accounting wizard to get the most from them," he continued.

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Of course, accounting software like Intuit QuickBooks exists for non-Excel masters, but with a workforce that is largely Microsoft-dependent through years of usage, many companies may not wish to rock the boat.

Would you make the switch?