Excel accounting – kicking the habit

By Steven Cox | 19th November 2015 | 8 min read

It’s a time all accountants will remember. The moment you were handed your first ever Excel spreadsheet – it seemed so alien to you. You then started experimenting with a few different algorithms to find out which best suited your needs. Before you knew it, you were carrying out conditional formatting for kicks and the addiction had truly set in. Don’t be naive enough to assume you’re the only one though, Excel addiction has become an issue of epidemic proportions and something has to be done.

It isn’t just traditional accountancy firms suffering either; our research has shown a staggering 47 per cent of corporate accountants use Excel on a daily basis. The issue seems to be accountants don’t realise the side-effects of using. Like all addictions, users often feel euphoric during and for the few minutes following a dose of Excel, but the long term effects are not worth the rush.

Long term side effects

So the main arguments for using Excel are the street price, its availability and that work gets done regardless. However, what many don’t realise is the more they use Excel, the less productive they become over time. Accountants under the influence of Excel take much longer to carry out tasks than those accountants wise enough to steer clear of it.

Take compliance tasks for example. Traditionally seen as the bane of accountants’ lives, a complete overhaul of all accounts for legislative changes such as the new UK GAAP can take days worth of activity for Excel users. This is time which could be spent much more productively. Accountants not using Excel are able to automate this through fit for purpose software and focus on adding value to clients instead. After all, that’s what clients are paying accountants for.

So, imagine a world where the tasks you’ve been dreading for months can be completed at the click of a button. A world with increased productivity and collaboration with clients. By going cold turkey and removing Excel from your daily routine, your accountancy firm can be transformed almost overnight. Clearly, its time for Excel users to kick the habit, once and for all.

About the author

Steven Cox

Chief Evangelist

Steve is Chief Evangelist of IRIS; a technologist and chartered accountant (FCCA) who looks at how technology can simplify the modern working environment.

He joined IRIS in 2002, who’s career at IRIS has spanned many areas of the business including Customer Support, Engineering and Product Management. His most recent previous roles at IRIS include Senior Product Director and Interim CTO.

Steve has over 18 years of experience in technology and accounting which he uses to work closely with customers, software companies, accounting/governing bodies and the government to champion the digital transformation of UK Education organisations, SMEs and Accountants.

In Steve’s current role as Chief Evangelist, he has looked across the globe at how technology and legislation is changing the roles and requirements professionals in the workplace and looking to the future to predict how their roles will further evolve.