Spreadsheet Horror Stories

Did you know that 90% of spreadsheets have errors? Spreadsheet errors are not something to take lightly, especially when computing for sales commissions. They can cause problems like: Incorrect Payments Late Payments Lost Productivity Unhappy Sales Reps Misstated Financials How does it happen?

The minute a spreadsheet is shared with another person, the error goes up to 20%. Add more sheets to the document and the error rate will quickly climb above 80%. Simon Hurst wrote, "Once the spreadsheet escapes the complete control of its creator, all of its previously disguised horrors are unleashed on an unsuspecting world."

Here, we'll list the common spreadsheet horror stories that can happen to anyone who's in charge of computing for their sales reps' commissions. We hope they haven't happened to you yet. However, if you have already encountered them, don't worry - we have a solution.

Top 10 Spreadsheet Nightmares

1. You have to maintain one spreadsheet per sales rep and you end up with tens or hundreds of individual spreadsheets that you have to maintain manually.

2. The person who set up all the commission spreadsheets and does calculations resigns from the company. Now the sales commissions are due and you cannot figure out how to use the spreadsheets to produce the reports.

3. The sales rep is sitting in front of your desk. After noticing an error in his current sales commission statement, he goes back and checks his previous statements too. He finds that most of them have errors and that he was paid less than what he should've gotten. Now he wants to know why you have been taking his money away.

4. A few of your sales reps quit. Now, you get a legal letter saying that you are being sued for fraud because you weren't properly paying your sales reps the commissions that they earned while working for you.

5. When you are adding new transactions that require your reps to be paid their sales commissions, you copy old transactions and change only the dates and amounts. But then you realize too late that you forgot to change the amount.

6. You created the perfect commission spreadsheet for each of your sales reps to be paid every two weeks. Later on, you realize that you have to create summary reports every month. Now, you're stuck under a pile of reports at the end of each month.

7. You add new transactions for calculating commissions, but unfortunately, the formula on the spreadsheet didn't include the new additional rows in the computation. The sales reps' commissions are wrong again.

8. Certain rows and columns of your spreadsheet are hidden so others won't have to see them. But these hidden cells provide important values like rates. Accidentally, while you are copying and pasting values, you pasted new numbers onto the hidden cells. And you don't even know where the error is.

9. You create a spreadsheet with transactions for every month and link the individual commission statement spreadsheets to the common spreadsheet. The next month, you forget to update the link for one or two of the commission statement spreadsheets.

10. Your co-workers also need to make changes to the spreadsheet, so you make a copy of them. Pretty soon, you have many different versions of the truth floating around.

Hurst further commented, "If someone used a tool that 9 out of 10 made them look like a complete idiot in front of their colleagues and bosses, they'd stop using it pretty quickly."

Do any of these ten spreadsheet horror stories sound familiar to you? Whether your answer is yes or no, you need not worry, because there is a way you can avoid these nightmares. Manual computation of sales commissions is out. Automated computation is what you need.

QCommission and Easy-Commission are CellarStone products that help you compute sales commissions accurately and help you pay sales commissions on time. They are both completely web-based and they allow you to share the information with your sales reps. Transparency helps build trust and loyalty, and makes your sales reps more productive.

To learn more about QCommission and Easy-Commission, we suggest you check out www.easy-commission.com and/or www.qcommission.com.


*This post originally appeared on our old blog, http://blog.easy-commission.com.