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Introduction to the accounting spreadsheet

Intended purpose, and pros and cons of this accounting spreadsheet
This spreadsheet is not intended for large businesses which have hundreds of accounting transactions each day. Such businesses will typically have specialized accounting software, perhaps incorporating invoicing and cheque writing capabilities, and have full time bookkeepers to record daily transactions in real time as they happen. Rather, this spreadsheet is intended for start up or small businesses that have perhaps up to 50 transactions per month and whose owners do the accounting themselves, perhaps at month end using the bank statements as a guide to what transactions have occurred during the month.   
 
Professionals who operate corporations which invoice a small number of clients e.g. the law firm they work through, and perhaps some additional clients who they bill directly, may find the spreadsheet useful to keep track of income, expenses, statutory remittances, paid dividends, etc., and indeed this is the purpose for which the spreadsheet was originally built. 
 
Pros and cons of the spreadsheet
Advantages of this spreadsheet over commercially available accounting software are:
  1. The calculations are transparent – it is not a black box that makes one wonder what calculations are happening behind the scenes. Many people are familiar with Excel, but not all are able to program macros that allow quick performance of tasks the user could perform manually, and this spreadsheet offers macros to assist with data handling, while leaving the calculations in plain view for the user to see.
  2. Excel as a software will likely never become obsolete or discontinued, and so the data recorded will always be readable.
  3. Excel is widely used, and so the data can be easily shared with others, without concerns as to software availability / compatibility. 
 
Disadvantages of this spreadsheet are:
  1. It is not a substitute for understanding basic accounting principles, but may merely help users combine knowledge of accounting principles with basic Excel skills to quickly, effectively, and transparently, prepare financial statements. 
  2. Visual Basic programming skills would be required to substantially modify the spreadsheet while still making use of the macros.