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Replacing Excel for Commissions 

Using excel sheets for commission? DON’T. Here’s our detailed analysis on why a generally wonderful business tool, Excel, doesn't make a cut for calculating sales commissions.

Sales Motivation
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10 Min read
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Last Updated on
July 26, 2021

Microsoft launched Excel in 1985 as a spreadsheet system to organize data in columns and rows to perform mathematical functions on the data. Excel is one of the most widely used business applications where the spreadsheet — a simple, flexible, and incredibly powerful tool — quickly became the lingua franca of business. Spreadsheets are now loved and loathed in equal measure. Their flexibility is useful, but also dangerous. The commonly held wisdom, backed by research, is that nine out of 10 spreadsheets contain errors, a sobering thought considering how far and wide the files are used in business and beyond.

Spreadsheets have been at the center of misguided commission calculation and payouts among many other hornets' nests because organizations of all scales, over all these years, have been forcing Excel to calculate commissions with thousands and hundreds of columns and rows for their massive workforces. And this is one of the biggest challenges that Compass addresses. 

Breaking down the problems with Excel 

1. Not sharable

(What do you mean it’s not shareable - add it as an attachment to an email!)

Sure. But you cannot do this when you have a massive team of hundreds and thousands of employees who want to access the same file. Now imagine your entire sales workforce mapped against 15 different commission plans. Now add in the complexity of team leaders being able to track the commissions of their team members but not other team members. This is exactly what makes Excel non-sharable and challenging.

With Compass, not only can your entire workforce access all the information at the same time, but you also get user controls. So you can control who sees what data, share the relevant data with the appropriate stakeholders and enjoy a truly seamless experience.

2. No real-time visibility

Excel, despite its online versions, is not connected. Complex commission calculations need real-time data for all sources like the CRM, ERP and payroll. It is almost impossible to extract data from these sources, work on them and keep them updated, real-time. This process is slow, manual, error-prone and it isn’t real-time.

With Compass, you can easily pull this data from your existing systems. You can integrate Compass via webhooks, APIs or SDKs. Link and add gate filters in case of multiple data sources.


3. Not built for commissions

Excel is a blank canvas with two dimensions. It cannot handle complex calculations, coupled with layers of logic. And you will have to resort to using 10s and 20s of nested ifs and indexes to arrive at the final value. God forbid if you go wrong with one of those 20!

With Compass, you can easily build a logic with n number of variables where your only input is defining the variable and Compass will take care of the rest. Compass is also created to handle complex tax implications across geographies and tax brackets, to enable seamless payouts. 

4. Not designed for scale

Experts describe Excel as a functional and programming language. Even though excel combines data analysis, visualization and programming together, it only works well when the data is small and limited to hundreds of records, can be entered manually or can be copy and pasted and the logic is more mathematical than complex.

With Compass, you get the best of Excel, along with an intuitive interface, options for a range of variables, and payout choices. The best part? It is scalable for small and gigantic enterprises and start ups alike!


No matter how simple or complex your incentive plans, Compass can handle it!

 

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