4 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Excel Sheet to Construction Management Software

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Is it time to unplug the spreadsheet cord?


Over half (55%) of construction cost estimators rely on primitive estimating methods, including handwritten balances and computerized spreadsheets like Excel. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with these methods—if you’re fine with losing thousands and missing opportunities to beat your competition.

If, however, that doesn’t sit well with you, it might be time to drop your spreadsheets for something more tailored to the construction industry.

Not sure if you’re ready to ditch Excel? Here are four signs that it’s time to upgrade your Excel sheet to construction management software:

1. You’re worried about precision.

Carpenter Taking Measurement

According to a study from Carnegie Melon, spreadsheets have an “overall error rate of 94%.” The study also found that a majority of respondents could cite a time when the error led to a poor management decision.

One can expect user error in every business. But software exists to minimize common errors—for example, would you rather have all your finances done with or without a calculator?

Investing in construction management software is an extra step that construction managers can take to secure financial and job-planning accuracy.

2. Your company has grown.

business people group on meeting and presentation  in bright mod

The construction industry is finally recovering from the recession—and as a result, many construction companies are growing. Your company might have also started to use new software to accommodate new employees, new jobs, and new project management issues. But Excel doesn’t necessarily integrate with these new systems. If you’ve moved on to a new scheduling software, for example, or need to, Excel may not meet your company’s needs any more.

Furthermore, being a bigger company tends to mean that you’re taking more complicated (and better paying!) jobs. Excel and handwritten spreadsheets not only leave plenty of room for error, but also don’t account for more complicated calculations (like overall LEED benefits for using approved materials on a certain job).

Finally, Excel isn’t great at dealing with more than one user. Opt for a construction management system that allows all stakeholders to participate in budget-making and resource allocation. For example, Hikuu specializes in construction accounting and allows for many team members to access and edit construction accounting files. Use software like this to help your company grow—and dump Excel while you’re at it.

3. Security is a chief concern.

Internet Security Metaphor 2

If you are planning on collaborating with others on your financials, you don’t want that information falling into the wrong hands. Whether it’s a competitor or a hacker, relying on email communication with spreadsheet attachments opens up the door for your financial information being accessed by malicious parties. What’s worse, if there’s an error, it’s difficult to go back and figure out where the project was four months ago, let alone four days.

Consider construction management software options that have secure cloud collaboration features and that track document iterations over time. Aconex, for example, excels at construction document tracking and fosters secure communication over the cloud. Excel doesn’t even come close.

4. You want software tailored to construction—and tailored support too.

Foreman talking on his mobile phone

At the end of the day, Excel is made to be installed and forgotten about. Microsoft Office is not going to be able to provide you with industry-specific support. Construction management software was largely created by and for construction companies—they understand niche construction problems and are familiar with construction-specific questions.

On the support-side, construction-specific software has likely encountered common accounting problems (like contract management and LEED credits) that Excel simply can’t handle. And with software specifically designed for construction, it will be far easier to address these issues—either on your own or with customer support—than trying to balance pages of spreadsheets and tabs.


Have you ditched Excel? What construction management software works best for you? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.

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About the Author


Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a former Capterra analyst who covered project management.


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