10 reasons why it’s a BAD idea to manage your 10-Year Maintenance Plan on Excel

The purpose of the 10-year maintenance plan is to help stabilise the body corporate’s financial situation through preventative maintenance. This is achieved in combination with a cash flow forecast.

Excel can be a powerful tool for creating intricate worksheets and financial forecasts…for expert-level users! But it does have some limitations when using it for the 10-year maintenance plan.

Here are the 10 top reasons why an Excel spreadsheet is less effective than specialised software systems such as the Mirfin Dashboard:

  1. User Intuitivity
    An Excel spreadsheet is often only intuitive to its compiler but may require explaining to other users.
  1. Not Foolproof
    Entering data manually in a spreadsheet can be time-consuming and prone to errors, for example when accidentally overwriting a formula. Small mistakes in data entry can lead to significant errors in your forecasts. Specialised financial planning software flags errors.
  1. Complexity and Size
    A 10-year maintenance plan can become quite complex, especially for larger community schemes.
  1. Automation
    While Excel has some built-in functions for financial modeling, it lacks the level of automation that specialised financial forecasting software may offer. You may need to update your forecasts frequently, and the manual effort required can be substantial.
  1. Version Control
    Managing multiple versions of maintenance plans and cash flow forecasts can be challenging in Excel. It’s easy to accidentally overwrite or lose important data when making updates, and tracking changes can be cumbersome.
  1. Collaboration
    Excel’s collaboration features are not as robust as dedicated maintenance management or financial forecasting software. Sharing and collaborating on Excel files can lead to version conflicts and data inconsistencies.
  1. Scalability
    Excel may struggle with large datasets and complex models.
  1. Reporting & Visualisation
    Excel does not provide extensive reporting and visualisation capabilities out of the box. While you can create basic charts and reports, you may need additional tools or add-ins to generate professional-looking financial statements.
  1. Analysis
    Excel’s built-in functions for financial analysis and what-if scenarios are limited and unable to facilitate levy modelling without specialised add-ons.
  1. Audit Trail
    Tracking changes to your maintenance plan and cash flow forecast, and understanding who made those changes can be difficult in Excel without a robust audit trail feature. This is important for maintaining data integrity and compliance.

While Excel can be a useful tool to the average user for basic forecasting, bodies corporate with complex forecasting needs and a desire for more automation will find it beneficial to consider dedicated financial forecasting software. These systems are specifically designed to handle the challenges associated with long-term maintenance planning. The Mirfin Dashboard provides more advanced features that are easy to understand for all users.

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