Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access are two different ways of updating your business' database and generating useful reports for meetings. They can both be used to track expenses, income, payroll, and inventory, but they're not interchangeable. Microsoft Excel is a powerful application, but its use of spreadsheets to tabulate data often makes it inadequate to handle complex database needs. Many businesses find the need to migrate to Microsoft Access, which is a relational database that's easier to use than other relational database software on the market. Is it time for your business to make the switch? Read on to discover three ways you can know your database needs are outgrowing the capabilities of Excel.
1. You're Having Trouble Keeping Track of Your Increasing Number of Excel Spreadsheets
For most businesses, the reason why they decide it's time to migrate to Microsoft Access is the fact that Microsoft Access is a relational database. This makes it easy to manage relationships among multiple tables — for example, an employee ID lookup can easily show you their salary, their hire date, and their sales figures. That's because the employee ID acts as the key that returns information from multiple tables in your database.
In Microsoft Excel, each spreadsheet file is considered separate. In order to visualize data or create reports, you need to use pivot tables in order to link multiple files together. Unfortunately, this takes quite a bit of time. In Microsoft Access, the relational management between tables is handled automatically. This makes creating reports much quicker and easier compared to Excel.
If you're handling multiple tables across numerous Excel files, migrating your data to Microsoft Access will make your workflow much faster. Reports are also less prone to error, as all of the relationships are handled by the database itself rather than being assembled together using pivot tables and other functions.
2. Your Employees Need to Update Data at the Same Time
One other drawback of Microsoft Excel is that it's only possible for one employee to edit a spreadsheet at a time. Other employees can't make changes while the file is open on someone's computer. If you're working with large Excel spreadsheets shared among every employee in a department, this can significantly hamper the speed at which data can be entered into your spreadsheets.
Microsoft Access makes it easy to share a database among multiple employees. Multiple people can enter data into Microsoft Access at the same time, and the changes are shown instantly. Microsoft Access also eases the process of entering data into the database with its form-creation wizards — it's possible for even non-technical staff to create programs that allow updating the database with information that's entered into the forms. The end result is that departments can enter data quicker along with managing their data entry software without the intervention of your IT department.
3. Your Complex Spreadsheets Are Becoming Too Large for Excel to Handle
Finally, Microsoft Excel often encounters problems with handling large amounts of data. It's possible for spreadsheet files to simply become too big for the software to handle efficiently. Microsoft Access has larger limits on how much data can be entered into the database. This is an important feature for growing businesses that now have large and complex database needs that Excel is no longer able to manage.
Overall, it's time to move to Microsoft Access when the downsides of Excel are reducing productivity. Microsoft Excel is easy for employees to use, but it typically struggles when businesses need to manage increasingly larger collections of spreadsheets. Microsoft Access, as a relational database, is more suited to creating reports using a large number of tables that need to be connected together in a logical way. If your business is experiencing productivity losses because of its data needs, contact a Microsoft Access developer in your area to help with your transition to a more powerful way of storing your data.