Plenty of accountants consider themselves wizards of Excel. But can your local Master of Macros use a Microsoft spreadsheet to post journals in Xero or Intuit QuickBooks Online?
A long list of apps and tools have promised to replace or “kill” Excel. Google Sheets has picked up many fans since its launch eight years ago because it was the first to offer simultaneous editing by users in multiple locations.
But Excel is proving that it’s not just a tool, it’s a platform, and one with a lot of life left in it yet. Lance Rubin, CEO of Model Citizn and CFO of Sequel CFO, is a passionate advocate for Excel in this era of cloud accounting software – though he is quick to point out that he doesn’t see it as competition.
“Everyone says, ‘I could build an accounting software with Excel’, and I’ve been guilty of that as well. But that’s not to say that you should,” Rubin says.
“Excel is not accounting software. You’ve really got to look at what Excel offers that is different to everything else.”
Rubin was looking for a way to automate adding journals to Xero while working as CFO for Banjo Loans. He looked at different ideas for automation but realised that he was already doing the calculations in Excel then manually typing them into Xero. Why not push them directly into Xero from Excel?
Rubin found apps that turned Excel into an automation engine for Xero – and not just for automatically adding journal entries.
“If you take on a new client, you have an opening balance sheet, right? You then have to post each of the opening journals. And guess where most of that information is sitting? It’s still back in Excel. It’s probably from a MYOB CSV extractor or some other accounting system,” Rubin says.
Rubin also found it easier to create a new chart of accounts for existing businesses. Instead of logging into Xero and clicking in and out of each account he can change account names in a list of Excel cells and push a button to update all of them.
Rubin can also assign tracking codes and tracking information to accounts much faster through Excel than through Xero’s native screens.
“It’s literally a click refresh,” Rubin says. “You can actually have a live feed out of Xero into Excel. So someone can be sitting in the Philippines posting information and you can see that information on a live dashboard.”
Lance Rubin will be sharing more details about these Excel plugins at the Accounting Business Expo. Session details below:
Using Excel to Automate Processes in Xero and QBO? Yes You Can
Wednesday 20 March 4.25 – 4:55pm
Business & Finance Conference
Register for your free ticket today!
Image credit: Quick Win Developments