Manual Data Entry – a Red Folder Story

The following is an actual story sent to us as part of the Red Folder Challenge. As always, Adaptive Road has altered some details to protect the privacy of the submitter and the submitter’s organization.

I’m the Sales Admin at a good-sized professional services firm. We have about 150 consultants and currently eight people on the sales team. We have a CRM system that the salespeople use for managing their contacts, accounts, and opportunities. The CRM system does not talk to the accounting system, but the salespeople want to know the spending history of their accounts, and they want the numbers inside the CRM system. Salespeople don’t have access to the accounting system anyway.

So, every month or so, I get a report from the accounting system. I ask for an Excel report, so I can import the data into the CRM system, but every month the report is strangely formatted, with an account name on one line and their invoice totals on a different line. I have to spend a bunch of time reformatting the spreadsheet, making sure the information is in columns that the import will understand – about four hours a month / twelve hours a quarter. Plus the accounting system can’t give me a report that is ONLY an update for the people we’ve invoiced in the past month, so I do 100% of the entire report every single month. Then at the end of each year, I have to reset everything so the sales people have “Spend – Last Year” in a different field than “Spend – This Year to Date.”

It’s drudgery, plain and simple., and there are so many other, more useful things I could be doing with my time. Honestly, I think this information gets used maybe twice a year, but the minute it’s not up to date, I hear about it.

How hard can it be to hook the CRM to the accounting software to get those numbers put in automatically? There’s got to be a way! This is basically manual data entry, and it’s depressing. We have technology; why can’t we use it?

This is a Red Folder story for sure. Couldn’t everyone use four more hours for more productive work? Plus the minute I do the update, the information is outdated – at least for some of the accounts anyway.


The Red Folder Diary is a compilation of workarounds, business process snafus, and oddball stories from actual organizations like yours. They’re all real, but they’ve been “anonymized” so that no one will be embarrassed. Red Folder Stories have been submitted by both Adaptive Road clients and not-clients. Do you have a Red Folder Story to tell?

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