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ERIC Number: EJ914659
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0036-651X
The Growing Problems with Spreadsheet Budgeting
Solomon, Jeff; Johnson, Stella; Wilcox, Leon; Olson, Tom
School Business Affairs, v76 n7 p24-26 Sep 2010
The ubiquitous spreadsheet in some version has been the sole and unrivaled instrument of financial management for decades. And it has served well. The spreadsheet provides the flexibility to design a unique business process. It allows users to create formulas that execute complex calculations, and it is available in the globally standardized Excel format. Creating a well-designed spreadsheet, one that will prohibit error, is a painstaking process that has consumed countless hours of administrative labor. The resulting data are only as reliable as that process is meticulous. The scope of possible error is broad and varied, including data entries in formula-based cells, incorrect cell ranges in formulas, circular references, broken links between workbooks, and outdated versions. Despite its labor-intensive rigor, the spreadsheet has functioned over time, and business managers have taken in stride the problems and deficiencies associated with it. Some administrators contend, however, that for its fundamental design and intention, the spreadsheet has reached its limits in the face of current financial challenges. In fact, in districts with more than 10,000 students, spreadsheet-driven budgets have become almost impossible. The more users there are with differing skill levels, the more error-prone the process becomes. Many school business managers and administrators simply do not have a good understanding of how to work with spreadsheets. This article discusses the versatile, Web-based budget software as a viable alternative to the traditional spreadsheet. Its appearance in the past 10 years has finally allowed districts to escape the tyranny of the spreadsheet. Districts with such programs in place have reshaped the roles and the capabilities of administrators at all levels, whether they manage schools, transportation, human resources, or the entire school district operation.
Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). 11401 North Shore Drive, Reston, VA 20190. Tel: 866-682-2729; Fax: 703-478-0205; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota; Utah