Asset Management: Spreadsheets vs Management Software

Asset Management

Asset management is the practice of tracking and managing an organization’s assets, whether they are physical items like equipment, vehicles, or IT devices, or intangible assets like software licenses and intellectual property. Both spreadsheets and dedicated asset management programs such as Property Eco have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to managing assets. Let’s compare the two:

Advantages of Performing Asset Management With a Spreadsheet

There are some advantages to using a spreadsheet for your asset management. First, spreadsheets are very cost-effective as they usually require no additional software costs. Most spreadsheets are available as part of productivity suites that many companies already own. Spreadsheets can also be easier to use for those who are already familiar with them. Most business people already have spreadsheet skills and this can make it easier for multiple employees to work with asset management.

Spreadsheets are also highly customizable. If you use this option, you will have the flexibility to create a spreadsheet that fits your specific needs and layout preferences. If you have a unique business or situation that requires a very specific form of asset management, a spreadsheet might work better for you. Spreadsheets are ideal for basic tracking situations and can organize data like asset names, locations, purchase dates, and owner information.

Potential Disadvantages of Using Spreadsheets for Asset Management

However convenient and cost-effective spreadsheets are, they also have disadvantages. These problems can be very limiting to some businesses and situations. Spreadsheets are very limited in the ways that they can record and display data. Creating advanced reports and analyses can be cumbersome or difficult using spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets are more prone to errors and data inconsistencies compared with asset management software. Spreadsheets also have very limited scalability. As your organization grows and the number of assets increases, maintaining a large spreadsheet will become unwieldy and prone to errors. This is especially true once you have multiple team members working on the same spreadsheet. You will also find that spreadsheets lack the automation of asset management software. Spreadsheets require manual data entry and have no animated features for tasks like notifications, maintenance schedules, and depreciation calculations.

The Advantages of Asset Management Programs

While spreadsheets may be popular for managing inventory and assets, asset management software also has many advantages.  One of the biggest advantages of using asset management software is the ability to have advanced reporting technologies. Asset management software can offer powerful reporting and analytics tools that can provide more data-informed analytics for your team.  They can also be integrated with other software systems like procurement, help desk, financial management, and customer service programs. This can allow your employees to work better and be more productive with their time while also giving a better experience to your clients.

Asset management programs are also less error-prone than spreadsheets. They provide a centralized database that is specifically designed for asset tracking which can reduce data duplication and errors. They’re also scalable which can allow you to grow your business with one program rather than needing to eventually transfer data from a spreadsheet into a better system. The software is designed to handle a larger number of assets and can easily adapt as your organization grows.

Finally, asset management programs are built around the idea of automation. Not only do automated programs allow your business to get more done in less time, but they also allow you to do it more effectively and efficiently. These programs usually include automated features such as alerts for needed maintenance, warranty expirations, and asset checkouts. They can provide information automatically when an item is out of stock or needs to be ordered soon, as well as let your team know when they have products that are out of date or need to be replaced.

Disadvantages of Asset Management Software

Using an asset management program instead of a spreadsheet to organize your inventory data can have many advantages. However, there will also be some disadvantages to this option.  One of the greatest disadvantages of an asset management program is simply the cost. Unlike spreadsheets, asset management programs can be pricey both in terms of software licenses and potential implementation and training expenses.

There can also be a steeper learning curve for many people when adjusting to using an asset management program. While most business people are well versed in using spreadsheets, transitioning to a new software requires time for training and adjustment. This can slow down the initial implementation process and use extra resources. These asset management programs can be complex and might have more features in your organization leads. This can contribute to the steeper learning curve and add unnecessary clutter.


While spreadsheets can serve as a basic asset management tool, they become less effective as your organization grows and your asset management needs become more complex. Dedicated asset management programs offer advanced features, scalability, and automation, but they might come with higher costs and a learning curve. The choice between the two depends on the size of your organization, the complexity of your asset tracking needs, and your budget constraints.  Make sure that no matter which method you choose, you will be able to adjust and grow or switch to a new program easily as your business grows or the need arises.

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Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.