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8 Signs you've reached the limit of spreadsheets in boarding

Vincent Paget

March 28, 2017

Excel and Google sheets are very powerful tools, however because they aren’t specific to boarding they do have their limitations. This means there will come a time when your needs surpass what a spreadsheet can handle and it’s time for you to upgrade to a new solution with more functionality.In order to provide the level of security and accountability that parents have come to expect in the 21st Century, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of spreadsheets.Here are 8 signs that you've reach the limit and are ready move towards boarding management software:

1. You have trouble finding the information you need

When you’re using multiple spreadsheets, it can be difficult to remember where your data is organised. Especially if you’re collaborating with other boarding staff by using Google Sheets or Microsoft Office 360, and they’ve made changes to the sheet without telling you.Designating one person to be responsible for maintaining your spreadsheets might be a better way to keep your data organised and easier to find, however it’s a very inefficient way to manage your boarding administration.One of the huge advantages of a cloud-based solution like Boardingware is that it offers a one place for you to store all your information in a way that is organised and easily understood by everyone. It’s extremely powerful because you have the confidence that you can quickly find the most up to date student information whenever you need to.

2. Your spreadsheets contain dirty data

The flexibility of spreadsheets is what makes them so useful, but it can also be the most dangerous feature. With no way or setting restrictions or specific tools for boarding, it’s difficult to make sure your boarding staff are entering the data correctly. Staff members could easily use the wrong spreadsheet or enter the wrong kind of data into the wrong cell, column or row.The biggest problem here is that these mistakes can often go unnoticed for days, weeks or even months. And by the time you’ve realised, the entire sheet could be riddled with errors, rendering the data in your spreadsheet inaccurate and possibly non-compliant.

3. Double data entry is taking over your life

Having to enter data into two or more different places can feel like a never-ending task. But it has to be done if you want to keep the data consistent in all your of your spreadsheets and main school management system. One of the best things about cloud-based solutions like Boardingware is that if you change details in the system, it will automatically update your student records. It can even integrate with your main school management system for even better data management.

4. Your spreadsheets are slow and crash often

If your spreadsheets are slow and crash occasionally, it’s a pretty clear sign that you’re pushing the limit on what it’s capable of, and if you continue to use spreadsheets with large datasets and formulas you may be at risk of corrupting your file and damaging your records.

5. You can’t tell ‘Who did what’

With spreadsheets, it’s far too easy for people to enter, edit or delete data without you knowing ‘Who did what’. In boarding, student accountability is your #1 priority, so it’s especially important to keep track of which staff performed actions like signing students out, giving final approval and editing leave records.Unlike spreadsheets, boarding school software allows you to see what happened, as well as who did it and when. In fact, Boardingware provides an entire audit log of everything that has happened for you to refer back to at anytime. You can also prevent certain activities by setting permissions for staff users so they can only access and edit certain areas of the system.

6. Your spreadsheets aren’t mobile

Spreadsheets are difficult to access and use on your mobile device, making it impossible for you to keep track of your students when you’re away from your office. Cloud-based software leverages the power of your mobile device and allows you to manage your students from anywhere on campus, which is especially useful in an emergency situation.

7. You have problems creating reports

Whether it’s end of shift reports, weekly summaries or individual student reports, trying to manually leverage and manipulate your data in excel or Google sheets can be confusing and very time consuming. On the other hand, Boarding management software can automatically generate interactive reports for you using your live data. So you can effortlessly gain valuable insights into your boarding activity.

8. Spreadsheets are stopping you from spending time with your students

You shouldn’t have to dedicate your valuable time to maintaining spreadsheets and keeping them up to date. Instead you should be spending your time and energy building meaningful relationships with your boarding students and helping them grow into successful young adults.Unlike manual spreadsheets, boarding school software that is simple to use will enable you to stay on top of your student records by allowing your boarding staff to easily access and edit records from anywhere. This means they can quickly do what they need to and get straight back to what they’re good at.

Do spreadsheets still have a place in boarding management?

In essence, Excel and Google spreadsheets are very powerful tools, but they do have their limitations. In some cases, they might pass as a suitable solution for basic boarding management.However at the end of the day, if you want to be able to deliver exceptional care for your students while still providing the world class accountability and data security processes that parents are beginning to expect, then you’re better off investing in a more tailored boarding management solution.[marketo-fat form="1107"]

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Vincent Paget

Vincent Paget is an Operations Manager at Orah based in Auckland, New Zealand. He loves technology, organisation, nature and adventure sports, not necessarily in that order.

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