Quickbooks vs Excel: What to Use as Your Accounting Software

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Accounting helps track income, expenditures, and other financial data which can be used in making business decisions. 

But there are lots of accounting software available out there.

Should you go with Excel or Quickbooks for your accounting purposes? 

In this article, we break down the differences between them and see who comes out on top.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Microsoft Excel

home page of microsoft excel

Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet program that launched more than 30 years ago.

This program is known as the “standard spreadsheet” and is one of the most used programs in the business world.

In Excel, you can enter data in rows and columns and organize, format, and make calculations on them using formulas.

What we like about Excel

Before we proceed, Excel and Quickbooks are different kinds of programs. 

So for this section and the succeeding ones, we’ll be mentioning things we like and dislike for each program in comparison to each other.

Functions and formulas: Functions are simply predefined formulas which make calculations according to the parameters inside the formula.

And accounting is full of formulas and computations. In Excel, you have the freedom to design whatever financial and accounting model you like.

Excel, with its arsenal of over 400 functions, has every function you need.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Graphic representations: Excel has advanced plotting and charting features.

Anytime you need to illustrate your financial data to make them more understandable, you can always hit up Excel’s charting features.

Slice and dice your financial data: Unlike accounting-exclusive software, you have the freedom to do anything in Excel.

You’re not bound to preset and limitations that are normally found in programs made for one purpose only.

You can strip out or add whatever data and category you need. You can set up another worksheet that would serve as a database for your customers.

In addition, you can format your data however you like it. Your only limit is your creative and analytical thinking.

What we don’t like about Excel

Prone to data entry errors: The downside is, you have to do everything in Excel.

Sure, there are lots of Excel templates you can use to simplify your initial work. But the fact is, you still have to manually enter the records.

And that’s the problem with a spreadsheet. One wrong move and your data are at risk.

Needs knowledge about financial models: Because you’ll have to design your own spreadsheet or edit existing templates, working knowledge in financial models is a must.

Sure, Excel is easy to learn. There are lots of online blogs out there as well as Excel books to help you learn Excel faster.

But you still have to learn something, at the very least. And that takes time which you could’ve put into better use for your business and other needs.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Security issues: Your saved workbook can be accessed, edited, or deleted by another user in the unit you’re using.

Of course, Excel has its own way to protect your files by locking cells, formulas, sheets, or even the workbook itself.

But that’s only if you the know-how. If not, then your financial data could be at risk.

At the same, you have to take extra precautions in case your unit breaks down. You’ll have to either upload the file into an online database, create a backup, or use Microsoft OneDrive.


Quickbooks is an accounting software made by the company Intuit.

If Excel is a spreadsheet program you can use for different reasons like database, accounting, project management, etc., Quickbooks is dedicated only to accounting.

That means, it has the features needed so businesses can manage sales and expenses, track daily transactions, invoice customers, and a lot more.

What we like about Quickbooks

Easy to use: Unlike Excel, Quickbooks is made for your accounting needs.

Everything you see in it is for that purpose. It’s already built so all you have to do is to get your financial data into it.

Great at what it does: The only way to have inaccurate reports is if you entered wrong data.

Unlike Excel, there’s no need to check for the formulas, adjust the ranges, and test it out. Quickbooks has already a working accounting backend. It already works even before you use it!

Integration with other apps: The purpose of Quickbooks is to make your life easier when dealing with financial and accounting matters.

And there’s no need to add or build those features yourself. It’s already there.

For instance, you can send invoices via email right on the software itself. That task alone saves you a great deal of time especially if you have lots of customers.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

What we don’t like about Quickbooks

Bound to limitations: What we don’t like about Quickbooks can be summarized by that line alone.

Because it’s already built, there’s only a little room for modification. The software’s exclusive-usability became a block to what you can do with it.

Example, you’re only limited to the set of data formats available. Furthermore, the reports and charts available are only those the developers have seemed fitting to include with the software.

In short, what you can do inside Quickbooks is already predefined.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Quickbooks vs Excel

When choosing between Quickbooks and Excel, you might find yourself in a hot seat.

To help you, here are some guiding questions you can answer:

  • How much freedom do you want inside the program?
  • Do you want to design your own tabular forms?
  • Are you looking for ready-to-use accounting software?
  • Do you need more advanced graphical representations?

Excel and Quickbooks do shine in their own rights.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Excel is like a jack of all trades. You can make it into whatever you like. As for Quickbooks, it’s only made for accounting purposes.

To some, that might be limiting. For others, that’s a relief. Not everybody has the time nor the need to create everything themselves.

If you like the freedom to do whatever you want with your financial data, choose Excel. If all you want to do is to simply (or quickly) input your financial records, Quickbooks is for you.

Go with Quickbooks if you’re all into accounting and additional related features like invoicing. The software’s integration with other apps will make your financial life better.

If you need to come up with sophisticated graphs and charts, use Excel. Quickbooks only has graphs specific to accounting.

Microsoft Excel is included in the Office 365 Suite.

cost of office365 with excel

But if you want Excel alone, you can buy it as standalone for $129.99.

Quickbooks costs from $5 to $475 per month depending on your needs.

price of intuit quickbase


In summary, choose Quickbooks if your need is solely for accounting purposes. If more than that, go with Excel.

No matter each program’s limitation, they’re great in their own way. What’s important is you get to know the tool better so you can use it better. 😊

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto