Accounting Software vs Excel Spreadsheets for SMEs

A common issue we come across when working with SME business owners is the use of Excel spreadsheets (or worse a shoebox) instead of appropriate accounting software to manage their record keeping requirements.  When asked “Why do you manage your business this way?” we usually hear one of the two following answers:

I would like to bust the myth that Excel spreadsheet record keeping is free and advise all SMEs that there is a much better alternative available.

Why managing your business is better with the right accounting software

Firstly, Excel spreadsheets are not really free. Whilst you may not have to part with any  money to use a spreadsheet there are several hidden costs to consider, including:

In my opinion, Excel spreadsheets are a time waster for SMEs.

As a busy business owner, your time is much better spent on trying to win more work and finishing jobs you already have on the go.

A few simple examples of how your time could be better spent than manually entering data into a spreadsheet include:

A much better alternative to Excel spreadsheets is using an online accounting package (such as Xero or MYOB). There are many benefits to using an accounting software package.  A list of some of the  more important benefits is below:

In my experience, entering data into a spreadsheet is boring, time-consuming and generally inefficient. It’s a big part of the reason why we regularly see businesses fall 2 to 8 quarters behind in lodging their Business Activity Statements.

Whilst there is a cost to having an accounting software package, most likely you have invested anywhere between $1,000 and $1,000,000 of your money into your business, not to mention hundreds of hours of your time. Increasing the chances of your business thriving, making it easier for advisors to help you and decreasing the boring, time-consuming recording keeping requirements, in my opinion, more than makes up for this expense.

I enjoy talking to my clients about the benefits of accounting systems and how understanding financial information can help business owners make better decisions. If you are thinking about switching over to an accounting package or about starting up a business, please feel free to contact me for a no obligation, no pressure chat about the best options for you. I would much rather assist you to make a good decision for your situation than try to pick up the pieces down the track.


Robert Paprzycki
Chartered Accountant


– – – – – –

Disclaimer: We recommend that you seek independent financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in our articles and newsletters. They contain general information only and have been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. Interest rates are subject to change without notice. Lenders terms, conditions, fees & charges apply.