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;
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.