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The option to capture information on spreadsheets may seem like the quick and simple solution, but you’ll pay for it when it comes to reporting. Auditors really don’t like data captured in spreadsheets, as there’s no assurance as to its integrity. This can mean that much of what you do as a business cannot be reported to the public, and cannot be used for reclaiming tax. An expensive ‘saving’.

For larger organisations, the situation is even more complicated. If you have employees in more than one country, then you often end up with a plethora of local solutions, each with varying levels of accuracy and depth. Stitching together disparate pieces of information and trying to compare and consolidate this data is a laborious task, and the results are often highly inaccurate.

Fortunately, there are multiple SaaS providers out there who can automate your CSR efforts for you. There are a range of options to choose from, which can accommodate companies of all sizes and needs. For example, if you are an international company, make sure you choose a global online solution that can be tailored to meet the needs of each audience. This will mean you have a single repository of data for like-for-like comparison, as well as an auditable trail of activity and communications for your reporting.

A CSR software package should also make it as easy as possible for employees to inform you of their activities. Two of the biggest barriers to engaging employees — and therefore accurate reporting — are lack of simplicity and time restraints. For example, lots of your employees will be involved in charitable activities, but are under-reporting because they don’t want to fill in forms. Don’t make them. Instead, use an online solution that makes logging activity simple, and available to do at any time.

The solution you choose should also compliment your company culture and the working style of your employees. For example, if you have employees working out in the field, you’ll need a mobile app that provides easy access and encourages ‘logging on the go’. This means you are able to capture data at the source, as activities such as volunteering are happening.

Whatever solution you feel is right for your company, bear in mind that relying solely on spreadsheets really doesn’t cut it anymore, especially if you are a large or international organisation. Even though it may seem like the simple solution, it will end up costing you in the long run, in both time and money.

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