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Practice No 6009

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Accounting software is good, there’s no denying that, and Accountants & bookkeepers tend to have their favourites the major one’s being Sage and QuickBooks for desktop systems and Xero, QuickBooks online for the cloud based systems. At the end of the day these all provide easy entry of data into the traditional double entry system that has been the fundamental basis of Accountancy since the Venetians or thereabouts.


Being systems that are built to be used by everybody they tend to be a one size fits all solution and you end up having to change little bits and pieces of your working practice to fit in with the requirements of the software. The cloud based systems can have various add-on apps that can tailor the basic system, but unless you pay oodles for a bespoke system this is probably the best you will do.


Beyond the basic accounts that everybody must maintain, there are probably small tasks that you perform that would be useful if they were “automated”.


I have found that any tasks can be built “off-system” in spreadsheets; I have written, for example:


  • Quoting spreadsheets that have helped joiners and oak framers quote for jobs, taking account of different timber suppliers and varying the quote to account for distance and time on site.

  • Spreadsheets to calculate the Capital and Interest elements of a fixed term loan in preparation of entry into the Accounts

  • A spreadsheet that compares the likely tax take of being a Sole Trader or Limited Company that can show the change in different tax periods.

  • Spreadsheets that monitor Retententions over different jobs, then carry the totals over to a summary sheet that monitors the total you are owed (an Asset on your Accounts) and prompts you to claim the amount due once the retention period is over.


These tend to be client specific and are built to each individual client's requirements; a new spreadsheet is a blank slate and is built from the ground up to provide you with exactly what you require.

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