Is it possible to run your entire business in spreadsheets? Or will you need to upgrade to accounting software that can take additional training and could be costly?  From my time working with accounting software and knowledge of spreadsheets, valid arguments exist for which method would be better for your business. But at the end of the day, I believe that an accounting system is the best way to go about your bookkeeping needs.

The Wyoming SBDC Network has a whole team of expert advisors with the skills required to help you take your accounting management to the next level, and we also have a certified Quickbooks expert on staff to help you determine which accounting software will serve your small business best.  

Let’s talk about why I don’t recommend using spreadsheets as your main method of accounting: 

  • Excel formulas are complex and prone to error. Accounting software handles all the calculations for you, and does it properly.
  • Excel spreadsheets are susceptible to fraud because it’s easy to change information and hard to keep track of who’s making the changes, whereas accounting software maintains an audit trail.
  • Spreadsheet errors are easier to make (copy/paste errors, moving content out of cells that other formulas base their calculations on, etc.), and are much harder to track down.
  • Each income stream requires a different spreadsheet to track our earnings. This means that as we offer more services, the number of spreadsheets will increase, which can become confusing. 

One of my favorite things about an accounting system is the ability to call up reports at any given time to see your business activity from many angles. There are built-in reports that will be familiar to you and anyone else who needs to look at your accounts like an Income Statement or Balance Sheet. You’ll also find reports broken out by vendor or sales item, among many others.  

Fundamentally, accounting software is built to ensure that you record your accounting data effectively with minimal mistakes and good auditing. Many accountants and bookkeepers are more familiar with common accounting systems and can help with any discrepancies your accounts might have if you use their preferred tool.

You still need to be able to use your accounting software properly to get the most benefit from your program of choice so be sure to connect with your Wyoming SBDC Network Advisor for referrals to training opportunities and one-on-one, no-cost, confidential advising.

About the Author: Rob has experience in commercial banking, Accounting Systems, and he speaks Spanish. As someone who loves seeing small businesses succeed, Rob enjoys the journey a small business takes from start to finish. When he is not on the road or meeting with clients, Rob enjoys spending time with his family and enjoying the outdoors, hunting, or fishing.

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