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It is easy convenient and I admit ego-boosting to show off what I can do in a spreadsheet. With that in mind let s look at some of the differences between these two different types of tools. For the purposes of this article I selected six criteria by which to make the comparison. These were selected from the feedback of customers and prospects as well as learning what is important for the successful adoption and implementation of project tools within an organization. Data Mining Data mining is a huge part of project management tools. The whole reason for having a tool is to collect data so that you can look intelligently at that data make sure your processes are performing as advertised and make good decisions.
This is a great setting when you are adding dates as well because it will place your data into whatever date format you prefer. Formulas Do not be afraid to take advantage of the formula options in Excel. You can make them as complex or as simple as you want or need. A very simple one is the SUM feature that will add a column of numbers for you and provide the total in whichever cell you specify. As the information in the cells changes the sum in the total cell will adjust accordingly. This is a great option for presenting budgetary numbers or inventory type items. There is a formula wizard which will help you string together any number of data sequences and configurations.
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This is where the right project management software tool shines and spreadsheets fade. A good project management tool will be database-oriented and should allow for different types of ad hoc reporting across multiple projects. This enables the mining of all kinds of data. You simply cannot do this in a spreadsheet at the same level. If you really really know what you are doing it is possible to tie spreadsheets together and generate some integrated data. But that is not the same thing. You simply cannot on a whim mine into the data represented in your multiple spreadsheets. And in today s environment this is critically important.
In other words there is no cookie cutter approach because each potential investment has different profit and loss drivers. One of the first things to consider is what kind of data you have to work with in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet. Ideally you re looking for accurate monthly data including income statement items like revenue and operating expenses and balance sheet items like equipment purchases and cash from financing activities. If you have a longer time frame you can go with quarterly periods but annual tends to be too long. After all how can you predict what is going to happen beyond 5 years with any accuracy unless you re valuing an annuity? Next how much detail do you need in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet at the individual line item level? Is cash from financing sufficient or do you need equity financing debt financing interest earned etc.