There are many reasons to adopt Access over Excel in the business environment. Excel is an ideal application for organizations that want to analyze data. Thus, if Party Plates wanted to analyze the number of customers purchasing a specific type of product over a defined period, Excel would prove an ideal application for assisting in this endeavor. However, Access is a database that has been designed to hold large amounts of data. It is an excellent program for keeping track of inventory, sales and other information, and allows greater sharing capability than Excel. Using Access, users have the ability to connect with multiple data sources and subsequently edit the data contained therein. While Excel is a good database for conducting financial audits, including portraying information visually (in the way of tables and graphs), Access still has greater storage capacity. Further, when a customized Access database is used, it is simple enough to export data from Access into an Excel spreadsheet or other report for analysis.
Access is also a database that is easily customized, meaning a company can create the fields and other tables necessary to input information relative to a product or service. Excel however, is more of a spreadsheet that simply would allow the organization to present data in a visual format. Storage is not as easy using Excel, as multiple files need to be created and organized accordingly. Yet another benefit of Access is the ability to secure data, using a LAN or other program. Access is ideal for providing added security to data, although it is possible to protect worksheets in Excel.
Some individuals have a fear that it will be difficult to learn Access. However, there are many exceptional and free online learning tools that provide a detailed overview of how to use Access effectively. Further, in-house personnel can be trained to use Access so that new employees can be trained once they begin using corporate applications. Access can easily be interchanged with Excel for reporting purposes, making it an ideal solution for a company that wants flexibility when selecting a database solution. Perhaps another best benefit of Access is that it communicates well with other applications. This is often but not always the case for Excel, which is more often used for reporting. Access is also ideal for processing transactions, which is a tool that the Party store can use regularly, and will use regularly when conducting business with customers. According to Nelson (2013) it is possible to perform many of the same functions in Access as Excel. These include running complex calculations, using Pivot Tables and Charts, running queries on data and generating reports.
Further, Access does allow mail merge so that the organization can produce large volumes of labels or create other information as needed. Excel is more often used to manage lists (Nelson, 2013), while Access allows data to be retained for complex querying, or for storing data in tables or worksheets. Excel does not allow storage of relational material, as data is only stored on one worksheet or table. However in Access it is possible to store relational data. For example, the company can input a customer order database, with one table demonstrating customer names, and another their orders (Nelson, 2013). This information is the type of information that the Party store is most likely to store, making Access more sensible. Access allows utilization of unique identifiers. As the company continues to grow, it may be necessary to adopt more complex database application software.
There are many integrated systems that allow management of financials, combined with payroll, employee, and inventory data. Examples include databases like ADP or PeopleSoft. ERP is a system that allows a store to manage parts of the supply chain, or the supply chain as a whole (Access, 2014). Using this type of system it is easier to plan for future inventory, control costs and enable better customer retention. Using an ERP system it is possible to better understand the flow of materials from shop to sale, making this a potential solution for the future.