QuickBooks vs Excel: What to use as your accounting software

Each business, whether large or small, needs a reliable and fail-proof accounting system.

This puts a lot of pressure on the accountants. Besides being quick-witted and sharp, they also need powerful accounting software to keep the workflow going.

Although Excel will help you with many of your data storage (and bookkeeping jobs), it is not really a book-keeping software per se.

On the other hand, Quickbooks is a real accounting software program.

So, what’s the difference? And which should you use?

Find out below 👇

Microsoft Excel

Whether you’re a student or a teacher, you are sure to have used Excel – even if only once. It was launched more than 30 years ago. And even today, MS Excel remains unmatched.

Excel is also known as the “standard spreadsheet program”.

Unlike bookkeeping software, Excel offers a massive variety of features and functions. From storing data to making your own formulas or building work process automation systems – you can do it all.

Microsoft Excel front

What is great about Excel

Excel is one of the most popular software programs. Even for accounting! But why is that? What is so great about this spreadsheet software after all?

Let’s discover it all below.

Graphical Representation

Yes, written data is easy to read. But the same text represented in a 2-dimensional spreadsheet becomes 10x more interesting and understandable.

Excel spreadsheets also provide a wide range of charts, graphs, maps, tables, and illustrations. No other accounting software offers this many plotting features ✨

So when it comes to graphical representations, Excel is our top choice.

Formulas and Functions

Excel has more than 400 built-in functions that provide instant solutions for most of your jobs – whether statistical or financial.

Not only does it reduce your work time and stress, but it also makes you more proficient and quick at your job.

No Limits

If you are part of a big company or an individual with a creative mind, Excel is your workmate. With the freedom to create and save your own formulas as functions, Excel is a Turing-complete spreadsheet program 🎨

How can you create and save your own formula as a function in Excel? Using the modern LAMBDA function of Excel. It is only available to Microsoft 365 users.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Not only that, but you can also customize your spreadsheet and financial statements however you like. And choose whichever templates suit you the best.

There are (almost) no restrictions or limits. Excel lets you stay a step ahead of your competitors – unless they’re using Excel too ♾

What is not so great about Excel

Regardless of how excellent an application is, it always has some drawbacks.

Modern times require modern accounting software. And Excel’s vastness can be a disadvantage when you only need it to manage your finances.

Let’s see some downsides of Excel below.


Manual data entry in Excel is stressful and can sometimes cause big mistakes.

Small businesses start from scratch. And the manual labor required in Excel can be too exhaustive at times. For such reasons, small business owners tend to use automated software. It takes away the risk of data-related errors caused by manual data entry.

Extra Features Bring Extra Confusion

Where no limits may be an advantage for some, unlimited resources may be a problem for others🙅‍♀️

This can happen especially if you are new to Excel or don’t know Excel in depth. The so-many features and formulas offered by Excel can thus be confusing when your only aim is to perform some quick data analysis.

To make the best use of most of the Excel features/functions, you must be a regular Excel user, if not an expert.

If you want to become better at understanding and using Excel, check out my free training here.

Not So Secure

Even if you lock all the important cells or your entire file, the security of your document is still not guaranteed. Excel spreadsheets lack strong security and encryption features. For this very reason, any unauthorized person may easily access, edit, or even steal your work.

This puts your financial data, like bank accounts and cash flow details, at risk. Moreover, to take the safer side, you must keep a backup of all your data at all times.

You might be at a big loss in case of a power cut or privacy intrusion if no precautionary measures were in place 🚩


Purely made for accounting purposes, QuickBooks is a commonly known accounting software. It was developed and launched in 1983 by the popular developer, Intuit.

Generally, QuickBooks is best known as a bookkeeping software. But small businesses massively benefit from its accounting solutions too.

Quickbooks front look

Unlike Excel, this software is built to meet only your accounting needs. You won’t find advanced formulas or pivot tables in QuickBooks. And this is what makes it more straightforward and simpler to use.

That being said, let’s find out what makes QuickBooks so great.

What is great about QuickBooks

User-friendly Interface

If you want a program that’s tailor-made for your accounting needs, QuickBooks is your one-stop shop. It is less stressful and helps you reach your business goals more swiftly.

Thanks to its simple interface and increased ease of use 🎯

Expert at Details

Unlike Excel, QuickBooks is not so prone to errors. You will instantly get an error prompt when you enter incorrect data.

With QuickBooks, you don’t even need to waste time finding different formulas for your data. That’s because all your accounting tools are collated in one place and are a single click away.

All you need to do is enter the data, and QuickBooks will take over the rest of the work. You can be anywhere in the world and still have access to your financial records and books through Quickbooks.

Integration with Banking Apps

QuickBooks’ integrated banking options can make things easier for you – if not completely remote.

Using Quickbooks, you can make online payments, and manage income and tax payments seamlessly.  You can also track transactions, choose invoice templates, and do much more using QuickBooks 💸

What is not so great about QuickBooks

QuickBooks is truly a resourceful application when used right. But like all other programs, QuickBooks has its fair share of drawbacks too👎

Let’s see these in detail below.

Limited Resources

Using Quickbooks, you can surely benefit from the quick making of balance sheets and income statements. But you don’t have a lot of room to redesign.

Quickbooks offers limited templates only. And most of these templates are not even customizable.

For a creative mind, this sets the bar too low 🤷‍♂️

Different Online and Desktop Versions

Although QuickBooks desktop is handier and can work offline – using it can be difficult. It’s highly pricey and is not easily accessible.

QuickBooks online, on the other hand, is easy to understand and use. But the increasing limitations on features can be frustrating.

One main reason for this is the idea behind the creation of QuickBooks, which was to support small businesses only.

QuickBooks vs Excel

Comparing QuickBooks and Excel is a tough task as both are useful in their respective fields. And in the end, it all boils down to what the user requires.

So, let’s see which of the two is best in light of user requirements 🤞

  • Excel requires you to do all the work from scratch, while QuickBooks does most of it for you.
  • QuickBooks lets you send invoices, while Excel doesn’t offer any integrated banking options.
  • You have unlimited resources while working on an Excel sheet. QuickBooks keeps you in a box.
  • Excel provides a variety of graphs, and charts. QuickBooks only provides accounting-related graphs.


For small business bookkeeping and accounting, a pocket-friendly approach is the best.

In the case of Microsoft Excel, you can get it in the Microsoft 365 Suite. You may purchase a monthly plan from the following offers (or learn more here).

Office 365 Suite offers

Or if you don’t want the entire suite, you can buy MS Excel alone.

Microsoft Excel price

As for QuickBooks, you can choose from two different versions.

You can create a QuickBooks account online. And choose from QuickBooks online advanced and QuickBooks online plus:

Quickbooks Online Pricing

Or you can buy the desktop version by purchasing any of the following yearly plans💰

Quickbooks desktop pricing


This article differentiates between the two most popular accounting software. And shows which one can fit your needs better.

All in all, if you prefer keeping your software limited to reports and invoicing – stick to QuickBooks.

But if you want an extensive range of features where you can customize your work, create your own formulas, and try different templates – then Excel is your best bet 💪

Frequently asked questions

If you want your software to handle your accounting problems only, get Quickbooks. But if you need a more creative or dynamic software, Excel is a better option.

Excel can cover most of your accounting (and data storage) needs. It offers a variety of bookkeeping and financial functions that will reduce your calculations to a few clicks only. However, as it is not accounting software, in essence, you will find it short of many essential bookkeeping features.