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Accounting in Excel – back to the future

We’ve seen two small, owner-managed businesses in the space of a week that have questions about their bookkeeping requirements and in both cases we’re concluding that using Excel is the simplest solution.

With the vast choice of software solutions available, this sounds counter-intuitive but in both cases Excel is the best answer.


  • The businesses already have Excel and know how to use it
  • VAT is simple – one company is not VAT registered and one is in the flat-rate scheme
  • Management information requirements are very simple

Building a simple workbook with a page for each day book (sales, purchases, cash) and a summary page with a P&L and balance sheet is easy to do and if either MD gets stuck then they can easily email us the workbook and we can correct it.

Or we can log in to their PC remotely and show them how to fix their problem.

It’s not often that we see Excel as the best answer for a bookkeeping problem, and it is unlikely to suit any company that is VAT registered and not in the flat-rate scheme, but sometimes the cheap and cheerful route gets the job done and shouldn’t be overlooked just because there is a dizzying array of alternatives available.