My business took off after I quit Excel

By Fabien Paupier
Updated: 20 May 2020, first publication: June 2017
software backgroundMy business took off after I quit Excel

When we want to create a business, we pay attention to costs - particularly at the start of the activity, when the budget is limited. To manage their accounts, new entrepreneurs like already operating VSBs often use Excel. This spreadsheet is quick in uptake and easy to use, but it isn't really adapted for accounting, and in the development phase of the work, its limits are quickly exposed.

Excel, a software you need to know well

In order to have a reliable and functional accounting system on Excel, you need to first get to know this software well. In truth, a basic understanding of the spreadsheet won't be enough to properly manage your company, especially since you will have to consider the following from the start:

  • the information you will need to manage and monitor your work
  • the legal obligations you will have to integrate into Excel
  • the information flows which will circulate within your company and outwardly (between your company and your certified public accountant for example).

Additionally, to properly manage your business and accounting activities through Excel, you will also need to think about all of the users and their specific needs - firstly, your certified accountant of course, but also your (future) employees. Everyone will want access to particular information in order to complete their tasks. Using Excel then involves an important implementation phase. For your accounting management with Excel to be at least functional, you will need:

  • to integrate debit/credit processes
  • to be able to categorize your expenses: salaries, spending, credit reimbursement ...
  • to be able to categorize your payment means: debit card, check, transfer, withdrawals
  • monitor account changes with a bank balance
  • provide a monthly log of account movements

So that Excel remains functional and adapts to your developments, you need to also think about the software development possibilities. Thus, it would be more appropriate to create evolving drop-down lists for the categories and payments. You will then need to manage this aspect of the office suite, without forgetting of course a sound knowledge of calculation formulas...

A time-intensive management

The implementation of Excel as a management tool for your work will take time. Its daily use will take even more. Whether it is used to generate a quote, a bill or to enter accountancy lines, the number of necessary steps will be substantial. Thus, if we take the concrete example of bill management in Excel, you will have to:

  • create a new file or tab
  • manually number the bills
  • enter the client details and the product lines
  • create sum, rebate, VAT and discount (if necessary) calculation formulas, etc...
  • register the bill and send it to the client via mail
  • create the regular payment reminders yourself
  • manually monitor payments
  • create a summary table for all the bills
  • implement activity reports
  • etc...

The process is tedious and necessary for every client. The risk of errors is clearly great, whether that's in the information entry or the calculation formulas... As a management software, Excel reaches its limits very quickly in this situation.

Quickbooks to better manage your work and realign you with your profession

With the online Quickbooks solution, you manage your work with more peace and in an automated fashion. This platform is designed for the entrepreneur to be able to create their billing, their quotes and easily automate their VAT. Additionally, you can monitor your budget in real time because Quickbooks is synced with your bank. So new flows entered are added to your account every day. You have at all times an overview of bills already paid and client and supplier bills in progress.

Another very helpful aspect of the Quickbooks accounting software is that it allows you access to daily automatic reports on your work: budget, balance sheet, etc. Quickbooks also facilitates communication with your certified accountant. Thanks to the application, they have access in real time to your company's finances. They can thus collect all of the flows to enter them into the balance sheet. By simplifying these administrative steps, your certified accountant has more time for their real purpose of offering strategic advice and support.

Using Excel to manage your accounts is not an easy task. You have to master the tool, create your own reports and enter a huge amount of information. The risk for errors is great and this software quickly reaches its limits. To steer your company, it is better to dedicate a little bit of your budget to this legal activity and to turn towards dedicated management software like Quickbooks. Simple, fluid and efficient, the application will allow you to refocus on your work all the while keeping an eye on the essential indicators of your work.

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