There are literally countless home business accounting software products out there, each touting their ‘unique’ advantages.
However, we ask the question,
Is MS Excel still the best software for calculating your business profits?
What do you really need from a home business accounting software?
For most home-based businesses, the following are the most common accounting tasks to complete:
- data collection (entries)
- auto calculations (summing up, subtraction, multiplication and division)
- dashboarding (visual summaries of financial activity)
- colour coding highlights (emphasising particular data)
- integrated features (one part speaks to another)
- ability to customise (flexible enough to match your scenario)
- extend functioning (readily able to add-on new features)
If your accounting software will do the points above for you whilst you work from home, then you have great advantage in keeping a track of your finances.
But do you need anything more than this?
…well, before we run the risk of settling for less, let’s take a look at a few of the leading online accounting software solutions.
The idea here is to identify any critical functioning which we might have overlooked beyond the fundamentals listed above.
What Xero, FreeAgent & Quickbooks do above crunching your numbers?
Aside from the basic functions of keeping your financial records tidy, the three leading cloud accounting software packages offered the following advantages:
Send and receive payments
A handy time saving function which outstrips the simple processing of numbers. Sending and receiving payments directly from your accounting system saves you time having to reconcile records at a later date.
These software solutions make it simple to produce, send and track professional business documentation such as quotes and invoices. This makes for consistent presentation and integration into your accounting database for real time updates.
Mobile app for planning your finances
If you need to carry your financial data everywhere you go and access your figures on the move, then these software programs by way of mobile app keep you continually plugged in to your accounting.
Making tax digital
Mandatory measures issued by the UK Government have called for businesses earning over a particular threshold revenue to submit their VAT tax return via an approved software vendor.
Among those recommended vendors are the three mentioned above.
Without the use of one of these tools, VAT submissions will simply not be accepted in such cases.
When is it appropriate to rely on MS Excel for your home business accounting software?
We find for the more static rudimentary task of financial planning MS Excel is still a clear leader.
Its ability to render in a frameworked fashion your financial planning array is still second to none.
Customisable down to the least detail, also the formatting potential of Excel make it a favourite tool for communicating accounting data.
Blogs like this, make the programming bar much lower and accessible.
The following functions make Excel a traditional accounting evergreen, especially for budget planning exercises:
- Bespoke formulas
- …produce programmatic routines for displaying certain types of results
- Charting & dashboarding
- …presenting visually engaging snapshots for overview digests
- Automated data processing scripting
- …having data automatically crunched at preset intervals
- Conditional formatting to emphasis
- …making particular details stand out according to value
Along with pivot tables for tabular transformations at the click of a button and VLookup for advanced search routines…
Excel is a real power house of data engineering and with a desktop license – bought for a one-off fee, no recurring cost.
Sure it lacks the LIVE environment application benefits of the aforementioned cloud accounting systems.
But for classic, static financial data architecture and calculation prowess, Excel is a solution without shelf-life limitation.
Feel free to share your thoughts below. Join the conversation.