Erin Steiner | ,| By
You might be an Excel master. You might be able to program a spreadsheet better than anybody else on the planet. That’s great! It’s awesome that you took the time to learn and master those skills!
But if you want to be a professional accountant, you still have to learn how to use accounting and financial software.
1. Time Savings
The primary advantage of using financial software packages over programming your own Excel workbooks is time. Instead of having to spend hours or even days putting together the perfect program, you simply have to put the right numbers into the right boxes. You can input your clients’ information immediately and get the information you need.
2. Familiarity Breeds Trust
The public is already familiar with the names QuickBooks, Quicken, and the other major financial software brands (like Intuit). They’ve heard over and over again how great these programs are. They already trust the software (even if they haven’t used it themselves).
They don’t yet know you or trust you enough to put their faith in your freehand accounting skills. Understanding your way around the programs your clients trust makes you trustworthy by association and will help you find more business.
3. Your Firm Uses It
Unless you plan on going into business by yourself, you are probably going to wind up working for a larger accounting firm (or in the accounting department of a bigger company). The company or firm that hires you is already going to have financial software in place that they will want you to use.
Knowing how to use all of the popular financial software programs helps give you an edge over other applicants who might still be learning. More importantly, being able to use the program with which your boss is already familiar and comfortable makes you a better employee.
Here’s the good news: It is not usually difficult to learn how to use most financial and accounting software programs. You can check a few books out of the library and learn the basics within an hour or two. Or, if you want to really understand the functions of each software package, you can take a class (most community colleges offer classes for the big accounting and bookkeeping software programs).
There’s no rule that says you can’t keep working in Excel for your own independent work. You might even think about using those skills to develop the next big name in accounting and bookkeeping software. For now, though, learning how to work with the “big kids” that are already there will save you time and energy.
What do you think is the best account software?