This is a good article giving some overall expertise on when to use spreadsheets.  I agree with most of what is said here and I still in my day to day travels run across small and large organizations still using both Word and Excel spreadsheets as their data banks.  As the article states there are alternatives that even make the job much easier than manually manipulating data in Word and Excel.  Don't get me wrong here, Word and Excel are excellent tools for use at letter templates, reworking and calculating data, but not for the ultimate storage of your data.  Training really comes in handy to assist those in making decisions in reference to the proper software to use.  Most of the time, once the education process has begun with the end users and alternatives are introduced, individuals can and do see how much harder they are working and the additional time consumption required to use Word and Excel spreadsheets as their primary data sources.  One other small factor too is that storing all these documents takes up so much additional room versus a good data base program that is usually easier and more convenient for all to use.  BD

But while spreadsheets are still extremely useful, they aren't the universal answer to a business's financial management problems. Furthermore, better data controls can help you can make more effective use of spreadsheets.

Today, many small businesses rely heavily on Microsoft Excel for most or all of their financial needs, from budgeting to tracking customer accounts receivable and calculating employee payroll. I have a soft spot in my heart for the venerable spreadsheet, but it's simply not the best tool to handle all the number-crunching that a business requires.

The widespread inappropriate use of spreadsheets in business reminds me of the tale of the poorly trained carpenter who was shown how to use a hammer to drive nails. Since he was familiar with the hammer, he used it for all his woodworking--even for breaking a board in two. Most people would agree that a saw is a more appropriate tool for that job. Similarly, while a spreadsheet is well-suited for some financial applications, it's a poor choice for others.

Source: PC World - Use and Misuse of Spreadsheets


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