Blog March 17, 2017

Managing data integrity in spreadsheets

By Andy Birch

Does your firm rely heavily on spreadsheets to share and manage data? If so, you’ve probably experienced loss of data, or worse still, aren’t aware of it.

Many commercial real estate firms that rely on spreadsheets for data analysis suffer from process bottlenecks and diminished data quality. So, what’s the best way to maintain data integrity in spreadsheets to prevent data loss, particularly when worksheets are shared or accessed by multiple users?

Data integrity in the real estate industry

A typical real estate firm uses hundreds, if not thousands of spreadsheets, which lack the structure and process to enforce data integrity and uniformity. When data is transferred from one stage to the next, data quality and detail can suffer. For example, if you are a property manager that receives an annual or quarterly snapshot of the latest rent roll and general ledger information, the data is likely already out of date and lacks much of the original source detail.

Data management in Excel

When property managers send their budget spreadsheets to the asset managers, additional time and details are lost, and the cycle continues until the data finally makes its way to fund, portfolio and risk management. But at this point, the data lacks the supporting detail required to mitigate risk, make decisions, and define strategies. The problem is exacerbated when organizations share information with outside parties.

At each point of the data exchange, we see manual re-keying of information, or at best a drastically reduced subset of information electronically transferred, with either scenario resulting in a significant reduction in the level of detail available to the next party in the chain.

Financial modeling for commercial real estate

To reduce the dependency on spreadsheets and maintain data integrity, real estate firms are turning to financial modeling solutions that establish a single point of entry for data. With all users generating reports from the same database, there’s never a question about how to manage the data or whether it is accurate or complete.

A financial modeling solution designed specifically for real estate investors and managers offers a more secure, user friendly and robust way to capture, analyze, and preserve real estate data. It also empowers the real estate professional by streamlining the collection and aggregation of information from internal and external parties for the purposes of budgeting, portfolio management, and analytics.

Real estate firm should be driven by analysis and strategy, not spreadsheets. Learn how a financial modeling solution can transform your business.

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