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Three Reasons not to use a Carbon Emissions Spreadsheet

Carbon Footprinting - A GHG Report

We’re all thinking it, but no one wants to say it. Spreadsheets need to go.

Okay, perhaps that’s a little dramatic.

The age of carbon reporting with spreadsheets is over. There, much better.

We are currently at a tipping point where spreadsheets are no longer reigning supreme, and carbon management software or, enterprise carbon accounting (ECA) software is the clear choice for businesses who are serious about reducing their emissions.

The benefits of carbon management database centric software have well and truly tipped the scale in their favour, away from the traditional spreadsheet.

Still using a spreadsheet though? Feeling defensive of your tried and true?

Here, let’s take a look at the top three qualities of software solutions over spreadsheets, and how it can benefit your organisation:

1. Reduce Risk

2. Increase Productivity

3. Improve Quality

Reduce Risk

Reporting on carbon emissions has become the norm for many companies, and government regulations are starting to follow suit, tightening up.

The public sector is now required to report on their emissions, and it is likely that we will see legislation requiring more organisations to follow suit.

Having a solid system in place means that when legislation hits, your organisation is prepared and already rolling. Not to mention, even if the office Excel-er moves on, your data is safe, stored, easily accessible AND editable in a software solution.

Spreadsheets allow a single user to enter, manipulate, analyse and visually represent numerical data with great flexibility. So far, so good. They however can be easily distributed via email or accessed over a shared network. This means that without an effective content management system, multiple versions of the same spreadsheet can emerge, stored in multiple locations. This creates uncertainty over which may be the latest or most comprehensive data rich version of spreadsheet. This creates risk. Whereas with a database-centric software solution, there is only one version of the data and it always contains the latest set of data.

Problems are compounded when a spreadsheet becomes so complex that only the original author can make the required fixes and improvements. This leads to the ‘spreadsheet guru’, the irreplaceable employee who is the only person who understands the spreadsheet.

Increase Productivity

There’s a reason that spreadsheets aren’t adored by the general population. If you’re not into Excel, it’s difficult to know where to start and time-consuming to learn. And for many of us, we have better things to do with our time.

As emissions data collection and reporting needs increase, spreadsheet disadvantages become more acute. The major problems of spreadsheets include:

  • Lack of proper documentation and audit trails

  • Propensity for errors, especially without proper cell protection and lack of validation and testing of spreadsheet formulae and macros.

  • Challenges in reconciling year-to-year data sets

  • Challenges in scheduling regular and automated data uploads

  • Poor tools for creating and enforcing data ownership, including global standards for asset types and emission Scopes

  • Inability to have logical security levels or access to data and read-only views

  • Difficulties in managing and sharing large files.

These problems are further compounded by potentially having sporadic backup processes and high training costs, if or when the spreadsheet guru leaves.

Moreover, spreadsheets hamper sustainability team effectiveness through requiring an inordinate amount of time in simply managing the spreadsheet. Software solutions can erase the hours spent pouring over data, and put the relevant conclusions in reports, right in front of you. Simple as that.

Improve Quality

Spreadsheets have a lot of room for error, especially if you’re new to Excel, or even just a little rusty. It can also be difficult to extract exactly what data is relevant in order to reach actionable, data-based conclusions.

Having the data is one thing, but being able to interpret it and base sound, management decisions on it? Completely different.

e-Bench®, CarbonEES’ market leading software solution puts advanced energy and utility reporting capabilities in your hands. e-Bench® automatically aggregates your data into easy to analyse and meaningful reports that anyone in your organisation can understand.

If you’re interested in talking more about the benefits of software solutions over spreadsheets, feel free to call us for a discussion on 04 3846121, or email us to arrange a meeting.


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