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That doesn't sound like a best practice to me. That sounds like a bad habit (or perhaps "workaround") learned back in the days when eSourcing tools didn't have the smorgasbord of useful features and functionality that's available now.
(And I'd be sure to use "smorgasbord" when you tell them! )
That's just my opinion, of course, and that said, I think it all depends on the specific case. There are times where using Excel certainly makes sense - and when you think you need to use Excel (and if you're an On-Demand customer), be sure to look into the Customized Offline Response Sheet functionality that shipped with 10s2. It allows you to link responses in an Excel sheet you customize for the event to lines in Ariba. It's pretty awesome.
What's the specific scenario?