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Best Accounting Software in Excel for Small Business

Small Business Free Accounting Software in Excel runs & manages your business from an accounting software based within Microsoft Excel. It is fully flexible and includes all the functional features that a small business need in order to control its finances, produce professional reports & financial statements, handle sales & purchases, and pay supplier invoices. Everything is interactive to allow you to view the details of any transactions. It’s free downloadable software.

Free Accounting Software in Microsoft Excel – Offline Accounting Software in Excel. This is a simple, easy to use, workbook driven accounting software, which has been developed and tested in the United Kingdom.

Using Excel for Small-Business Accounting

Discover how Excel can help transform your small-business accounting.

woman standing next to monitor showing excel spreadsheet
After calculators, spreadsheets are an accountant’s best friend when it comes to managing basic accounting tasks (think ledgers and balance sheets). But does Microsoft Excel still live up to the hype in this era of innovative technologies like AI and blockchain?

Yes, depending on what your accounting and finance requirements are.

If you need help standardizing your processes and speeding up your tasks, Excel is the tool for you.

Excel can help with most of the basic ones (e.g., bookkeeping, invoice management), but if you’re looking for help with advanced accounting functions such as cash flow and tax management, you might want to consider accounting software.

In this article, we’ll look at some key Excel usage trends, benefits, and features, free Excel templates, and when should you consider Excel for your small-business accounting.

Excel usage trends for small-business accounting

Before we dive into Excel’s features and benefits, it’s important to understand how the use of Excel for small-business accounting has changed over the past few years.

Excel continues to be one of the most popular accounting tools used by small-business finance managers. Smaller businesses tend to have and use less financial data when compared with enterprises, and Excel allows such businesses to focus on basic accounting tasks, such as budget planning and forecasting.

Here’s a breakdown of accounting tools used by U.S. businesses:donut chart showing accounting tools used by us businesses with less than 25 million in revenue
Breakdown of accounting tools used by U.S. businesses (Source)

Despite Excel’s popularity, its usage in accounting is progressively declining among businesses of all sizes, as shown in the chart below.

One possible reason for this decline is the decreasing price of ERP software and cloud-based accounting tools specifically targeting basic functions such as invoice management.Chart showing the declining usage of excel for accounting among businesses since 2017Use of Excel for business accounting has been declining since 2017

Benefits of using Excel for small-business accounting

  • Compare datasets: Helps compare financial datasets such as total accounts payable versus receivable to calculate cash flow volume within a given period. You can track recurring costs to get a clearer picture of where your money is going, and (if applicable) divide customers into groups based on size, location, or purchase to see which groups generate the most revenue for your business.
  • Generate customizable reports: Create template-based reports (including tables and charts) that can be reused for tasks like invoice management and estimating cash flow volumes. These reports can be customized as needed to add more data points (such as multiple/differing state sales tax rates) without having to create a new template from scratch.
  • Automate data entry: Excel macros help automate repetitive financial data entry tasks (e.g., copying data from primary sources to an Excel sheet). For example, you can create a macro to export invoice-related data from a CSV file and populate the relevant invoice management template in your Excel sheet.

Key Excel features that can be used for small-business accounting

Pivot tables: Located in Excel’s “Insert” menu, pivot tables are an advanced table format that summarize complex datasets based on a selected cell range. From there, users can filter the selected data in a separate window. WHEN TO USE IT FOR SMALL-BUSINESS ACCOUNTING:  

Pivot tables are excellent for summarizing raw accounting data and sorting it into different categories. Let’s say you have to sort through itineraries for expense management. You can use a pivot table to filter through complex datasets and summarize expenses by category.

What-if analysis: Located in Excel’s “Data” menu, what-if analysis helps you forecast results by changing datasets in a formula. In other words, this feature lets users test new results by modifying data without removing or changing the primary dataset. WHEN TO USE IT FOR SMALL-BUSINESS ACCOUNTING:  

This feature is ideal for cash flow management and the overall budget and forecasting processes. The feature allows users to test various budget estimates in a graphical format (trend line or bar graph) and change the forecast for these estimates based on modification that the user makes to the budget data.

Forecast sheets: This feature is located in the same menu as “what-if analysis”, and helps users forecast data trends based on historical values. This feature predicts trends in a graphical format instead of simply changing data values in a cell. WHEN TO USE IT FOR SMALL-BUSINESS ACCOUNTING:  

This feature is only relevant if you have historical data spanning multiple years. For example, if you have cash flow data from past years, you can include that data in a table and use this feature to create a new worksheet with a graph forecasting future trends in your cash flow volume.

Excel Bookkeeping Templates

These free Excel bookkeeping templates can be used by anyone and any small business.

Excel is a fantastic spread sheeting program and if you already have it on your computer, you already have the means to start your bookkeeping. You can also use a free version of Excel by opening a Microsoft account. Zapier have written about the free version here.

Most of these excel bookkeeping templates are easy to customize to your requirements.

This means you change the background shading, and the fonts and layouts to get them to look how you like.

Small businesses starting up can take full advantage of Excel until they are in a position to afford bookkeeping software.

1. Excel Cash Book Template

My Most Popular Excel Bookkeeping Template

The excel cash book is the simplest and easiest way to start recording and tracking your business income and expenses and bank balance, for your day to day bank accounts.

You can add or delete unwanted columns and delete or insert more rows.

Balances are calculated automatically with built-in formulas so all you have to do is enter how much you earned or spent and the expected bank balance is calculated for you! You can then perform a bank reconciliation within the cashbook to make sure the cashbook reconciles with your bank balance.

This cash book also includes an Income Statement report so you can see if the business is making a profit or a loss each month.


2. Excel Cashbook With Balance Sheet

This template is very similar to the cash book above, however it has a Balance Sheet Report so you can track your assets and liabilities and see the financial position of your business. 

3. Expense Form Template

This excel bookkeeping template is a cash book specifically for tracking income and expenses off a credit card.

4. Accounting Excel Template

This template is similar to the cash book but it includes sales tax features and the tracking of two bank accounts and one credit card. 

5. Sales Invoice Excel Template

Need to give your customers a sales invoice?

Excel already has a great variety of Invoice templates included in their system. 

Click on File New and type Invoice into the search bar. The same goes with just about any other template that you might need. You probably don’t need to search the web or use my templates to find one – just look inside Excel!

Why Excelling at Excel Is Important for Your Accounting Job

microsoft excel toronto finance and accounting

Mastery of Microsoft Excel is a must-have skill for accountants and a key to their professional growth. Here’s how you can accelerate your career by knowing how to leverage excel.

As accounting and finance recruiters in Toronto, our job involves not only understanding our candidates’ strengths but also identifying some of their weaknesses. To determine whether a candidate is the right fit for a position, it’s important to know not only what they’re capable of, but also what they can’t yet do, whether from a lack of professional training or a gap in their experience. Too often, we see individuals trying to market themselves beyond their skills and capacity in an attempt to land a more desirable job – for example, junior- and intermediate-level accountants upselling themselves as advanced-level accountants.

Skills inflation is a much broader problem in recruitment circles; it’s one of the reasons why many new hires struggle at their jobs. But candidates seem especially prone to overstating their competency with Microsoft Excel, which has long been a hugely important platform for accountants of every level and designation. It’s all too common to see people stretch the truth about how versed they are in using the popular spreadsheet application.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to feign excellence with Excel. There are significant differences between an intermediate accountant’s aptitude with the program and an advanced accountant’s savvy with it. Learning to excel at Excel is a great accounting career move. Though you’ll need to be patient and pay your professional dues in order to work your way up the ladder – much like everyone else – developing superior Excel skills can ultimately help you get the job you really want.

It’s a tried and true resource

For financial insight and analysis, crunching numbers and compiling non-numerical data, Excel continues to be the tool of choice throughout the accounting and finance field. Having made its debut in 1985, Excel remains a mainstay in most industries, despite rampant technological changes. Used for analyzing data, managing budgets, forecasting and modeling financial performance, it’s a staple of business today.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to feign excellence with Excel.

In a recent post on his blog, James Kwak has stressed Excel’s ongoing relevance in the finance and business sectors alike. Writes Kwak: “Excel is everywhere you look in the business world—especially in areas where people are adding up numbers a lot, like marketing, business development, sales, and, yes, finance. For all the talk about end-to-end financial suites like SAP, Oracle, and Peoplesoft, at the end of the day people do financial analysis by extracting data from those back-end systems and shoving it around in Excel spreadsheets. I have seen internal accountants calculate revenue from deals in Excel. I have a probably untestable hypothesis that, were you to come up with some measure of units of software output, Excel would be the most-used program in the business world.”

It allows for heavy analysis

Excel offers users the ability to undertake intense qualitative analysis, which is part of the reason it’s so invaluable in the accounting and finance industry. The program lets you input and interpret masses upon masses of data, and can intuit the direction of numbers and statistics as you manipulate them.

Intermediate-level accountants are typically expected to know things like how to use VLookups and HLookup functions and pivot tables. Advanced accountants, on the other hand, should know how to write macros and do visual basic programming, or VB scripting.

“Excel is everywhere you look in the business world…Excel would be the most-used program in the business world.”

It will move you up the corporate ladder

Excel is the core tool for most accounting firms, used to forecast and facilitate a company’s growth, as well as to help decision-makers determine what a system needs and what changes should be implemented. Even if you hate Excel, it’s one of those platforms you can’t avoid in the accounting world, no matter how senior a position you hold. Accounting analysts, managers, and even directors, are expected to have mastered it and be able to use it with the utmost efficiency. To stay in accounting, you’ll have to learn to love it – or at least to use it properly.

These skills require practice and experience; a junior accountant simply can’t fake what she has yet to learn or develop. The good news? If you have some time and energy (and, possibly, money) to commit to learning the more complex Excel functions, you will be a seriously valued commodity among public and private firms alike. There are endless resources available – books, web videos, and the like – that can help you master the intricacies of the software. Consider investing in an Excel course if you have to. This will help you access both a higher level of expertise, and, over time, a superior job pool.

So quit lying about your experience with Excel. Instead, commit yourself to really learning the ins and outs of the tools it puts at your disposal, so that you can really Excel-erate (we’re so sorry) your accounting career!


The first and best accounting software in Excel. As a Microsoft Excel based solution, it provides you full tracking of cash flow/expenses and income/revenue. It allows simple, easy entry, and can be used by people with no bookkeeping experience, running their own small business from home or family-run businesses where all the members can track sales and expenses inside of just one single software program for a small fee.

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