One of the first things I taught my newly-hired Accounts Payable clerk to do was to get a Project Tracking Spreadsheet to track the accounts receivables, accounts payable, expenses, payments, and client orders. The client order forms, as well as most paper work, were scheduled for a particular date.
We had purchased some WordPerfect 5.0 project tracking spreadsheets, which were fairly easy to work with. But it got me thinking… do they really provide an accurate accounting software solution for small and medium-sized businesses? After all, each spreadsheet is a separate program and it’s obvious that if you want to have good control over your business and your accounting, you’d want to have a single solution.
Yes, it’s true that many small businesses prefer spreadsheets, but I still believe it would be easier for small business owners to benefit from a project tracking spreadsheet if they just downloaded the program and ran it on their own computers. Most projects will have tasks associated with them such as quality control, customer service requests, billing inquiries, or vendor surveys. If you have many different spreadsheets spread out all over your computer, you are taking up valuable desktop real estate.
But, if you think about it, you can do much more than just view the tasks that have been completed and tracked in the project tracking spreadsheet. What if you wanted to examine the progress of the project using actual data points from each task. The Project Tracking Spreadsheet gives you the ability to add custom fields to each task itself and if you could see the progress bars, you could see whether or not the task is being completed at a given time.
With some of the available design templates that can be used in the software package, you can also customize how to present your data and make it easy to track key performance indicators such as the “Customer Satisfaction Rating” or the “Estimated Time to Complete”. By being able to plot graphs and charts, you can clearly visualize exactly where your company is at that particular point.
Many of the available software packages have the ability to integrate with e-business applications such as OpenOffice and Microsoft Access. But, there are some other additional features such as showing estimated completion times and accurately calculating taxes and fees. It’s all about creating a better business management system.
In my opinion, these types of spreadsheets will be very helpful for anyone who has a small business, who uses software that doesn’t include this type of functionality, or who is just in need of a way to organize data and make it more user-friendly. The point is that any small business should take advantage of these tools if they want to truly have a better accounting system in place for their organization.
Whether you are a small business, a large corporation, or the owner of an independent consulting firm, project tracking spreadsheets can help you manage your day-to-day management and improve your overall business management systems. You can now see why they’re called Project Tracking Spreadsheets.