10 Reasons Excel Fails at IT Asset Management

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with Excel, especially when it comes to creating various simple tools to aid our daily work. In our field of IT asset management, it is super common that an organisation maintains its IT asset inventory with Excel. 

Excel has its benefits but when the number of assets grows so does manual work, mistakes, and additional hassle. Here are the top ten reasons why Excel is not the best choice for managing your IT asset inventory.

Manual work

When you use Excel, your inventory needs to be maintained manually, which not only consumes time but also increases the likelihood of mistakes. Asset management is quite simple when you have only a few devices but when the organization size grows to over 100 people with each person having 2-3 devices, things get ugly fast.

With a large inventory, you end up spending a significant amount of time keeping your inventory up-to-date if you rely on Excel.

Security risks

Mistakes and forgetting to update your asset inventory lead to outdated data. Outdated data can result in devices being lost or forgotten. Lost devices can cause security issues and without alerts, it might take a long time to spot if a device has not been seen for some time. Especially, lost laptops pose a serious security threat to an organization.

Besides security risks, forgotten devices also have financial implications. Devices left unused in storage rapidly depreciate in value, and in the worst case, a new device may be ordered even though a similar one is already available in inventory.


Collaborating with your own team or employees is quite challenging with Excel. Version control becomes a nightmare when multiple stakeholders update the same file.

It’s quite common that someone overwrites someone else’s changes or works on outdated data. This alone creates lots of unnecessary hassle and in the worst case, you end up spending time on fixing your spreadsheet time after time.


While Excel does offer some basic reporting functions, it’s not made for IT asset management. There aren’t any ready-made reports, so everything needs to be done manually by you.

Reporting is a critical aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. Good reports offer vital information and help identify areas that require action.

Few examples of helpful reports:

Decommissioning devices
Leased devices
Unused devices
Borrowed devices
Lifecycle cost report
Deleted devices


Integrations with other systems are crucial if you want to automate your ITAM processes. Excel itself does not offer any ready-made integrations but you can, of course, build them yourself by using tools like Zapier. As with reporting this is another extra task for your IT.

With the help of integrations, you can easily keep your inventory up-to-date and enrich your asset information for example with maintenance status.

Versatile processes

Asset management involves different processes like purchasing, managing, recycling, and returning leased items. Using one spreadsheet for all these processes can become confusing and messy.

To manage different processes effectively, you might need to create several spreadsheets for each specific process. The more spreadsheets you have, the more things you need to remember to update.


Automations can significantly reduce manual tasks and streamline your processes. However, automations are something you can’t easily do in Excel.

For example, having simple and automatic alerts when a leasing period is ending or when a new device should be ordered, can save a lot of time for your IT department and enhance employee experience.


Need a helping hand? There is no formal support on how to manage your assets with Excel. You can find some templates or tutorials online, but keep in mind that these are usually created by third-party organizations.

Limited fields

With Excel you can only manage up to 10 or so different fields efficiently, after that it becomes too complex and it makes navigating the file challenging.

It is important to ensure that the asset inventory is easy and fast to use. Complexity will lead to errors and increase manual workload.


There are typically a variety of important documents that need to be stored for later use such as receipts and maintenance reports. Linking these to your Excel asset inventory is a nightmare.

BONUS: Audit logs

As your organization grows, it is likely that at some point things need to be audited. For example, ISO 27001 and SOC 2 are external audits that are becoming more and more common as the importance of data security increases. It is almost impossible to keep reliable audit logs of all IT assets and their life cycle in an Excel file.


Ready to take the next step and innovate your asset management? Watch our webinar and learn how Paf reinvented its ITAM processes.

IT asset management software

© Copyright – IDR Oy – Privacy Policy