Is your private equity firm relying on spreadsheet software like Excel to track deals? If so, it’s time you switched to private equity deal management software.
These simple organizational tools can meet the needs of small business owners overseeing a linear operation. However, they aren’t the answer if you want to optimize deal pipeline management, keep your investors in the know, or stay audit-ready for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Let’s take a closer look at the shortfalls of spreadsheets and explore the solution you should be using instead.
Why Spreadsheets Aren’t the Answer to Track Deals
Spreadsheets aren’t the best deal pipeline management solution for any private equity firm, especially one that’s growing. As your business expands, you’ll quickly find that your spreadsheet software can’t keep pace. Spreadsheets fall short for the following reasons.
Time is money, especially in the fast-paced world of private equity fund management.
The more time you waste punching numbers into a spreadsheet or setting up custom formulas for each row and column, the less time you can spend serving investors. If you want to grow your private equity firm, you can’t afford to sacrifice countless hours creating and editing spreadsheets.
Setting up the correct formulas for your needs can be exceptionally tedious, especially because general-use spreadsheet software wasn’t built for P/E purposes. But you can’t rush through this frustrating process, as a single mistake can cost you and your investors.
Sure, you could hire someone to handle all of your spreadsheet-related tasks. But is that really the best allocation of your resources? Probably not, considering that getting more people involved increases the likelihood of costly errors.
Overly Reliant on Manual Data Entry
If productivity has one true enemy, it’s manual data entry. The more processes you perform manually, the greater the chances that an error will occur somewhere along the way.
Finding these errors, much less correcting them, can be difficult and time-consuming. Even if you catch an error relatively early, it may have already negatively impacted your firm and investors.
Unable to Provide a Single Source of Truth
Spreadsheets cannot provide you with a single source of truth. They lack the capabilities of a unified software platform through which you can view and manage all investor and account data.
Instead, you must create, keep track of, and manage a separate spreadsheet for every deal. As your firm grows, it can be easy to lose track of a spreadsheet and the latest version of each spreadsheet. Talk about a nightmare.
Additionally, standard spreadsheets aren’t auditable. You can’t track and document changes, meaning it’s almost impossible to trace the source of a mistake or error.
To make matters worse, spreadsheets may put you at risk of non-compliance, especially if you fail to create detailed records of who accesses each file, the credentials of each user, and the changes made by each individual.
Impossible to Scale
As your portfolio grows, you’ll realize that your spreadsheet software can’t scale. This realization should come as no surprise, as popular spreadsheet platforms aren’t designed to scale with assets under management portfolios.
One option is to keep piling on more data to your spreadsheets. However, this approach will make it difficult to track precisely what you need.
Inevitably, your firm will waste precious minutes looking for specific information that somehow got lost in an obscure row or column of your unruly spreadsheet.
As if all of these other issues weren’t enough to make the case against spreadsheets, the software used to create them can also be unsafe.
Safety is especially an issue if you copy and share a file onto multiple devices instead of using a shared ecosystem. Using the copy-and-share approach increases the chances of a critical file being exposed to outside parties.
Even if you’re working on spreadsheets in a shared ecosystem, your investors’ confidential data could still be at risk, as spreadsheet software was never intended to protect vulnerable financial data.
Conversely, purpose-built software solutions will include robust cybersecurity provisions that significantly reduce your data’s exposure to hackers.
NetSuite ERP is the Solution for Private Equity Deal Management Software
After realizing just how ineffective spreadsheet-based deal management can be, you’re probably ready to ditch your spreadsheets for good. The question is, what are you going to replace it with? The answer should be the Oracle NetSuite Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform.
NetSuite ERP is a best-in-class ERP and accounting platform that can be tailored to meet the needs of dozens of industries, including the private equity sector. The platform includes over a dozen modules, each of which is designed to address a specific set of business challenges.
NetSuite ERP is the ideal solution for your private equity firm for the following reasons.
1. Provides a Single Source of Truth
All the data input into NetSuite’s various modules is compiled into a unified database. This functionality helps create a single source of truth that your firm can use to access everything needed to manage investor accounts, optimize deal flow, and grow the firm.
NetSuite also integrates with numerous other software solutions, meaning it can share and exchange information with platforms you’re already using.
Once these solutions are integrated with NetSuite, you can view all organizational data through one intuitive platform. No more wasting countless hours frantically searching for a specific file or spreadsheet.
2. Offers Robust Reporting Tools
Do you feel that a lack of transparency and oversight impedes productivity? This common issue is just one more reason to implement NetSuite ERP. The powerful platform includes robust reporting tools that provide real-time insights into your deals and accounts.
You can use these dynamic reporting tools to better understand the state of your firm and generate custom reports in minutes to keep investors in the loop. NetSuite’s reporting capabilities will ultimately help you build trust with your investors and strengthen your image.
3. Facilitates Data-Driven Decision-Making
Performing due diligence and making timely investment decisions are critical to the success of your P/E firm. But how can you devote sufficient time to due diligence if you’re wasting so much time creating and maintaining spreadsheets?
Fortunately, NetSuite ERP facilitates better decision-making:
- Streamlines tasks like deal flow management.
- Equips you with robust automation tools.
- Enables real-time access to investment performance information.
You can then apply this information to act in your investors’ best interests and deliver maximum value by making wise investment decisions.
4. Enables Real-Time Deal Management
Spreadsheet software doesn’t lend itself to real-time deal management. In fact, managing deals with spreadsheet software is usually slow, friction-filled, and outright frustrating. This effort can lead to dissatisfaction or cause you to miss time-sensitive investment opportunities.
NetSuite ERP allows you to systematically monitor, track, and manage every deal using an immersive interface. It also enables you to automate critical tasks, enabling you to close more deals, capitalize on prime investment opportunities, and maximize portfolio performance.
5. Optimizes Relationship Management
Spreadsheet software does nothing to contribute to your relationship management efforts. Quite the opposite — relying on spreadsheets can actually undermine your efforts to build trust with investors and grow your firm. NetSuite ERP remedies this problem by providing you with an intuitive platform to manage investor relationships.
You can use NetSuite to send automated communications, generate performance reports, and keep investors in the know. They’ll appreciate your willingness to provide important information, and your firm will enjoy a reputational boost as a result.
Building strong relationships is vital to your private equity firm’s long-term growth, which is yet another reason you need NetSuite ERP.
Ready to Make the Leap? Finlyte Can Help
Transitioning from spreadsheet applications to cloud-based private equity deal management software is possible. It’s even more manageable when you have an experienced team in your corner.
At Finlyte, we help private equity firms transition from spreadsheets to NetSuite. Our team of experts can configure NetSuite using our proprietary implementation solution, ION.
Designed specifically for the financial community, ION streamlines the NetSuite configuration and implementation process so you can achieve these objectives:
- Optimize your deal management workflows.
- Increase productivity.
- Minimize the risk of costly errors.
- Strengthen your investor relationships and reputation.
Thanks to Finlyte’s expertise and the efficiency of ION, you can achieve a strong return on investment and expedited time to value.
To learn more, schedule a NetSuite implementation consultation with Finlyte. Find out how we can help make your firm more organized, less vulnerable, and maximally productive.