One mistake in spreadsheet can cost you millions. Switch to Business Apps

Spreadsheets are a universally known business tool great for… one-man analysis. They perform rather poorly when it comes to group projects and are ill-suited to manage a company. Using spreadsheets for such purposes has already cost many organizations millions of dollars. That’s why you should choose business apps.

If you’re a self-employed sole trader…

…then you can stop reading now. If your daily routine involves spreadsheets, you surely know what possibilities it offers. However, spreadsheets’ functionalities and usability are more limited than you would think. First and foremost, it only serves one-man projects. Unfortunately, few companies are aware of that until something bad happens.


Ask Google and you’ ll find hundreds of stories about companies that have lost great contracts, incurred sky-high costs, and even went bankrupt because of an error in spreadsheets. One wrong number or an incorrect formula in a file can cause a domino effect. And even though a dozen pairs of eyes went through the document, none of them spot the error. The lack of security is the most serious drawback of spreadsheets. It’s not only vulnerable to human mistakes (unconscious, resulting from rush, carelessness or deliberate) but also unstable, making it prone to freeze. Data loss as a result of “program is not responding” is not uncommon.

Not being designed for teamwork, spreadsheets are mostly used this way. Emailing files to many people and then gluing recompiled files back together is like asking for trouble. How many times did you have to look for the latest version, copy data, change it and make sure that the correct version goes to the Board or the client? It’s difficult to connect spreadsheets to various data sources, so most of the work must be done manually. Such efforts are inefficient and don’t allow for file version control, let alone for data aggregation and unification in a reasonable amount of time.

Because many people work on the same files, it is impossible to find out who made changes over time. Or who received the file and edited it. Maybe it was an unauthorized person? Spreadsheets provides no way of imposing a systemic responsibility for calculations, plans or results. With no possibility of auditing and controlling changes done to the files, the company is doomed to base its actions on unreliable data and forecasts. And it so happens that more than half of the decisions are made based on spreadsheets! We may collect and analyze data, have it processed by experts, feel in control of the situation, but all in all, our strategy is based on a hit-or-miss approach. Qualified people working on the carefully collected data won’t ensure success if the tool they use is faulty. The problem lies not in people but in the tool.

How it usually ends

Using spreadsheets to create offers, manage sales or plan budgets may end badly. Uncontrolled spreadsheet models create enormous business risk, not just of income or asset loss, but also of fines and, in the most extreme cases – imprisonment. Enterprises that want to effectively minimize the risk of financial or legal problems should ensure data processing standards, as well as reliable methods of cataloging, documentation, backup, archiving, controlling and comparing the spreadsheets concerning critical corporate processes. Not to mention data access control from inside and outside the company.

Spreadsheets don’t serve that purpose. They lack security, efficiency and control, putting many companies in serious trouble every year. There are so many spreadsheet related issues that a special organization was created to deal with the risk of managing company with spreadsheet-based models: The European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group. On their website, in Horror Stories section, EuSpRIG describes cases of companies that got in trouble because of a spreadsheets’ error (do not read before bedtime!). Are you sure your business can afford spreadsheets?

At the source

There are two main reasons why so many companies got stuck in spreadsheets. For smaller businesses, it seems good enough tool and decision-makers don’t feel like investing in something they don’t take to be essential. A good employee will do just fine with spreadsheets – that’s what a small business manager could say. Everything more is a whim. Of course, this belief results not from pragmatism, but from fear of change, aversion to technology, or concern that less competent people will not cope with the new tool. Lacking knowledge of the technology market and with no insight about new solutions, managers and CEOs have no desire to take responsibility for purchasing a new software. And last but not least: the costs. What’s disturbing about new software is its price. New systems are expensive, requiring you to pay dozens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s not better at big companies. In most cases, they already have a system or a few. Bought over 10 years ago, for a considerable amount of money. Their implementation was time and resource consuming, taking half of the IT team out from their daily duties for a year (supposed to be half a year). And today it turns out that systems are inefficient, lack necessary functions, no longer fit specific company needs, and don’t allow for integrations with other systems. Introducing changes and adapting to new conditions will cost another fortune and take a minimum of several months. It’s no wonder that corporations are reluctant towards IT investments and don’t want to buy yet another system.

This way, the business ends up with spreadsheets (and paper forms in some cases!). Documents like holiday requests, financial statements, cost settlements, and even plans or forecasts files fly from one company inbox to another causing more danger than you would imagine…

That’s what Qalcwise is for!

The main goal of Qalcwsie founders was to preserve spreadsheets qualities while enabling enterprise-class functionalities at the same time. So they kept the spreadsheet logic but added much more advanced formulas. They supplemented the solution with workflow, allowing users to go about their tasks and documents. They also came up with their own computational engine! Together with the versatile integration function, it allows most advanced calculations to be carried out on large amounts of data coming from various sources. And this is how our platform was created. Qalcwise is an app building platform that successfully replaces spreadsheets and fills in gaps left by ERP, BPM or CRM systems.

What’s groundbreaking about Qalcwsie is that it completely bypasses the IT. Hard to believe? It’ true! Qalcwsie platform provides you with no-code technology. Non-technical people can use their process knowledge to build systems without doing the actual programming. Employees get to use spreadsheets-like formulas and ready-made drag-and-drop elements. They can build new apps from scratch or configure ready-made ones, without the help of developers. This way, we avoid the problem of changing the business environment. You can adjust your business app with a few clicks. And because there are no rigid elements and everything is editable, you do not have to adapt your process to the app, you can move it 1:1 (automating your process you can often simplify it and skip certain steps).

Think of Qalcwise as a spreadsheet with a magical “do the thing” button. Qalcwise apps take care of tasks and processes that you would otherwise have to perform manually 

The secret ingredient

At this point, a careful and skeptical reader may ask: What about spreadsheet functions and formulas that I have, or, on the contrary, don’t have but very much need? Also, how does Qalcwsie stand on usability and safety?

Qalcwise users can create any kind of document (like a form, application, survey, etc.) and then define its circulation path, give certain employees the right to edit it, add comments or attachments and decide about it (reject, accept, etc.). In the end, the document can be archived or exported to another system. Because Qalcwise is a cloud-based solution, it provides a stable workspace maintaining high performance even with thousands of users working on it simultaneously. And it’s a properly secured environment too! No need to send emails, no risk of mixing up file versions, no paper… What you get is full control of the process. You can do that with any set of control rules, limits, and alerts that significantly minimize the risk of mistakes and abuse.

But that’s not all. As Qalcwise (Calculation-wise) name says, business apps support you in tasks that require calculations following previously set workflow. Any kind of task can be automated: calculating and generating commercial offers, calculating forecasts and budgets, settling partners’ commissions, bonuses, and retro-discounts or even managing the inventory. Your apps perform all calculations in an instant, so they can monitor sales numbers, budget utilization, costs and profits in real-time, also conduct analyzes and generates up-to-date reports on demand. And that’s the secret sauce of Qalcwise, not available in any other solution in the world (as far as we know).

With Qalcwise automating literally every process there is, you can finally switch to centralized management. It means having all data aggregated in one place and under control, but also operating in terms of consistency, integrity, and transparency.

Agile business apps take over spreadsheets in areas it’s simply no good for. They’re not only more trustworthy but also 70x faster to implement and 10x cheaper than traditional software.