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Move away from excel hell

by Kane Munro

2 min read

E = mc^2, a^2 + b^2 = c^2, y = ax^2 +bx + c… I love a good formula that can solve a difficult problem.

In fact, some of my best work early in my accounting career was using Microsoft Excel to create extensive business models and calculators that were sold to other accounting firms for use on their clients. I even used excel to build my mum a spreadsheet to track my dad’s carpentry business.

However all of this was back in 2000 when Bill Clinton was still the US President, AOL agreed to buy Time Warner for $165 billion, and 13 year old Nikki Webster was the face of the Sydney Olympics. Fast forward 15 years and Hillary Clinton is aiming to be the first female US President, Verizon have agreed to by AOL for $4.4 billion and Nikki Webster has (thankfully) faded into obscurity over time.

Times change and tools change and while excel was a great tool to run your business 15 years ago, it’s simply not the best solution in the modern world.

We have found that in 2015 a much more efficient alternative to excel is QuickBooks Online.

  • You can access it from anywhere in the world without any issue

I’ve prepared client accounts from a Trattoria in Rome, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on a Mac or tablet, and you can still use it like a very clever version of your old school excel spreadsheet if you want.

  • It’s clever because Quickbooks Online will automatically pull transactional information securely from your bank

QuickBooks Online pulls transactions into its cloud-based software allowing you to simply code your business transactions to set accounts, much like how your old excel sheet works, without all the manual coding from bank statements.

  • Ultimately what you are hoping to do is save time. Time for you and time for your accountant

I can speak as both a small business operator and an accountant when I say the only finite resource in the world is time. You cannot find more time.

More time for you means you have more time to spend working on your business, rather than in your business.  Strategic planning, business planning or even getting that extra couple of hours sleep to take on your tomorrow refreshed.

  • More time for your accountant means your accountant can give you more value for a similar cost

Accountants can do this by accessing your file remotely without having to worry about compatibility issues or you sending a file to them (which may not even be current). This enables your accountant to provide you with more feedback during the year on how your business is tracking, rather than after the year has finished which is how accountants traditionally operated. If you’re having problems on how to treat an item your accountant can fix it for you now, rather than having to find and fix the issue after the end of the year.

QuickBooks Online also has a good suite of reports that your accountant can set up to be sent to you periodically. This empowers you and gives you the financial information to evaluate and implement your plans.

To me, continuing to use an outdated system like excel now means you are risking your business fading into obscurity over time. Ultimately QuickBooks Online allows your business the benefit of more relevant financial information and more proactive assistance running your business without taking any more time to do it. And that sounds like a winning formula to me.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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