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There are without doubt many small businesses and start ups who use Microsoft Excel to run their accounts. Why pay for accounting software when you can use Excel to enter your weekly and monthly transactions? As businesses scale up they outgrow spreadsheets and look for alternatives to excel. However, here at Big Red Cloud we would urge any business to find alternatives to Excel, especially when it comes to your accounts. Sure, some small amount of money could be saved by not subscribing to accounting software but can you justify the amount of time it takes to use spreadsheets? Spreadsheets are simply not accounting software packages and here are the reasons why;

1. Invoices

Invoices are the first step to improving your cash flow, which is the lifeblood of any business. Invoices and spreadsheets are an odd couple. It’s possible to make the relationship work but it takes a lot of time and effort and perhaps a level of skill which is not attainable for everyone. It is imperative that invoices are processed and distributed to your customers as quickly as possible. Don’t just assume that revenue is going to make its own way into your bank account. This is where excel falls down. It can quickly become impossible to keep up with invoicing on a spreadsheet when a business starts to add customers. With a dedicated accounting software package such as Big Red Cloud, invoices can be raised and emailed to customers quickly and easily with automatic unit prices, vat settings and analysis categories. Not only does this save you time but it speeds up your business’ cash flow. What’s more, with Big Red Cloud, your customer’s account will automatically updated when an invoice is raised, cutting the time you spend entering transactions in half.

2. Double Entry

Following on from that last point, it may be possible to format Excel to update corresponding debit and credit side entries but the amount of time it would take could probably be put to use developing your own accounting software. What’s more, if one format or cell is changed, every single record will be incorrect. That’s why many small businesses look for alternatives to excel to save them time in entering their transactions. Big Red Cloud will automatically update the corresponding debit or credit entry in the right place for any transaction. This can save an awful lot of time and therefore an awful lot of money. Furthermore, keeping things simple reduces the chances of errors occurring which takes the hassle out of preparing your accounts. This is especially important towards the financial year end or when tax returns are due.

3. Back Ups 

Taking back ups is probably the single most important thing a business can do with their accounts, or any data that they have. In Excel this means having to remember to save multiple instances of the file in separate places. If you need to provide your records to an accountant you will have to remember to send them the most up to date version. If they send back an updated file this will then have to become the most up to date version. The number of files can get quickly out of hand and all that sending back and forward can once again be a burden on your time. With a cloud accounting software package like Big Red Cloud your accountant can have access to your up to date records whenever they need to without having to ask you for anything. This means that everyone’s time is more productive. What’s more, Big Red Cloud automatically backs up your data in secure locations so that you’re always covered, whatever happens.

4. Lack of Audit Trail

The major benefit of accounting software is that there is an embedded audit trail in every transaction, something that Excel would be hard pressed to match. This means that when something doesn’t balance or there are other errors in the accounts there is an immediate path to follow to resolve the issue and therefore being more productive. However when using a spreadsheet this trail may not be readily apparent which really just means that you’re flushing your time down the proverbial toilet.

There are many more reasons why alternatives to excel should be considered for running your accounts but I hope that I have convinced you that you should be looking to change today. It would be a decision that will allow you more precious time to work within your business rather than working on your accounts and you will always have the knowledge that should the worst happen we’ll have your back.

If you’re interested, why not try Big Red Cloud’s online accounting software free for 30 days.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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