Are We Finally Moving From Outdated Spreadsheets?
Let’s be candid: if you are a financial professional and are still using spreadsheets for your agency work, you need to rethink your strategy. Spreadsheets are great for general business use, can save you time, help streamline some operations and even help with some business functions, but they have their limitations. But in today’s digital era, the complexity of the creative industry has led many agencies to ditching spreadsheets as their key financial platform, as they are no longer cutting it when it comes to staying on top of the many moving parts of creative projects.
Don’t get us wrong, we know there are many important uses for spreadsheets within an agency (such as campaign reporting) but in our 35+ years’ of Marcomms industry experience, we have found that when it comes to using as a tool for invoicing, reporting and other financial functions, spreadsheets are time-consuming, and in many instances also costing agencies money. The inaccuracies and inefficiencies of spreadsheets have begun to become more prevalent as SaaS solutions in the market have improved creative projects management dramatically.
In this article, we’ll show you how the humble spreadsheet is carrying hidden costs for your agency, and how to move to a new tool that is designed for your creative agency.
No Live Updates
Whilst they can reside in the cloud, and they can be worked on by multiple authors, the truth is, spreadsheets require significant user interaction and updating in order to be accurate. Whether it is via a macro, there is the need to input new data somewhere in order for the sheet to show the right information. In most cases, this is assigned to the manager responsible for the project. In a bustling and fast-pace environment, spreadsheets are only as good as the manager responsible for updating them.
In the recent years, the introduction of Microsoft 365 and Google Sheets has improved the ability in sharing data and to collaborate, but it requires constant updating and if the data is outdated then this can immediately affect the all associated reporting and even the project itself.
Alternatives do exist – platforms which serve multiple purposes such as job management, media management, finance management and resource management. All data resides in one platform, thus meaning as data is updated in one section, the reports and dependencies in other sections are automatically updated. This means that as your creative team marks tasks as complete and share working documents and enter their time all in one place.
Transparency with a client
85 Per cent of clients are more likely to stand by a business during a brand crisis if it has a history of being transparent. Transparency is likely to be one of the major factors that will encourage agencies in taking the step towards having a software platform that will help them navigate everyone’s work on a web-based software platform. Pegasus Edge Time Management Tool provides detailed information at any given time by running regular reports with details of hours, invoices and expenses.
Spreadsheets are typically an internal document and require edits and checking before they can be provided to the client. To get to this point account managers are required to invest time into processing the task, and this is time that could ultimately be better spent on other, more meaningful tasks for the client (and ultimately the agency).
Here’s something to consider. Whether it is up-to-date or not, once staff email something to other team members, or to clients, that sheet becomes less secure. In fact, emailing data it opens a security risk as the spreadsheet resides on different inboxes. What if a disgruntled employee left the company? Or if someone outside the company gained access to their email? And given 94% of malware is delivered by email if your system is compromised, those emails could land in the hands of anyone.
There are better ways to protect spreadsheets, such as viewing permissions that can be viewed through many software’s such as Google Sheet and Microsoft 365, but you still run a great risk.
So, what’s next?
You may have guessed by now that not only does running a spreadsheet dependent financial system potentially cost your agency time, but it could be costing you money, and opening you up to security risks that could jeopardize your agency reputation.
It is because of this, and other reasons, that we feel you should consider a solution such as our Pegasus Edge System. Not only does our platform pack all the features you want from Excel or similar, but it has other integrated functions which improve efficiencies, such as time entry, leave overview and leave overview reporting. We also have production tools which include time and cost transactions, production invoices, order management and over 15 reporting tools just for the production team.
Expenses are also included in the Pegasus Edge menu, with expense claim entry and expense approval. Finance Management, Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and General Ledger analysis and Reporting is a module that is very popular among the finance department within the creative industry, it includes General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Client Profitability, and Fixed Assets.
Pegasus Edge is still under development but, is nearing completion. The exciting part is we are working to add more utility to this web-based version, allowing users to intuitively and quickly understand their business. Our goal is to make Pegasus Edge the industry-leading tool which ultimately improves decision making and allows financial professionals to transmit key intelligence to those who need it when they need it.
At Pegasus Systems, our focus is on helping Marcomms Agencies to improve their systems and as a result, their financial performance and cost-saving. If you would like any insight on how we can help you, let’s have a chat.