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Accounting & Audit

Accounting Pros Still Love Spreadsheets

Depending on the research, data shows that between 750 million and a billion people use Excel or other spreadsheet tools globally. This makes it one of the most-used financial tools in the world.


For all the talk about how accounting professionals should ditch their spreadsheets for various automated systems, many accounting pros still love them, citing their ease of use and wide ubiquity throughout the profession. In fact, depending on the research, data shows that between 750 million and a billion people use Excel or other spreadsheet tools globally. This makes it one of the most-used financial tools in the world. (;

This sizeable group, then, asks “why fix what isn’t broken?”

Even professionals who love spreadsheets will admit to limitations that can make it challenging to build and maintain financial reports for clients.  The most common reason I hear in our Roundtable Labs community are compiled below along with some explanation for the continued love of all things spreadsheet.

Data updates are manual.  Who enjoys copying and pasting? Anyone…? Bueller? While using a spreadsheet-based reporting process you have to manually copy and paste the data on a regular basis – which is both annoying and rife for user error. Plus, every time data changes in your accounting system you have to go back and forth remembering to update that data in all your various reports for various clients. Who hasn’t seen “Please see the latest model attached FinancialModel_v45.xls”?

Design Can Be Hard – When apps roll out their flashy dashboards and pretty graphs, it’s certainly tempting to try something new. While some users are masters of Excel and Google Sheets and they are able to create beautiful reports and presentations, for us mere mortals it’s can be hard. Especially when you are constantly updating or changing your reports, you just never quite have the time to invest in making it sleeker.

Still, many accountants love their spreadsheets. Why?

They are easy to use. This is one may seem obvious, but because spreadsheets operate with a simple user interface even the least sophisticated users still know how to use them on a basic level. The ability to easily manipulate and analyze numbers makes it the perfect flexible tool for just about any problem.

Spreadsheets are already everywhere.  Everyone already knows Excel and many are coming on board with a love of Google Sheets. With massive adoption, you already know how to use spreadsheets. You know Excel, other accountants know Excel, and clients (mostly) all know Excel. With a new solution, it is not just you who has to learn it, it is everyone at your firm and your clients. 

Spreadsheets play well with others. For most users, Spreadsheets are a complement to your existing accounting process that allows you to combine multiple data types such as HR data, sales data, and expense data, for instance.

With all these positives, there are still opportunities to improve processes and workflows and help eliminate manual errors in a more scalable way.

Keep an eye out, because there are apps coming to the market that enable accountants to get all of their data into their existing spreadsheet-based reports giving you the flexibility of still working in the spreadsheets you know now coupled with the benefits of automation and cloud storage. Like peanut butter and jelly!  Like peas and carrots!  Like salt and pepper!

So tell us…What do you love most about your spreadsheets?


Trevor Lee is the Co-Founder and CEO of Genius Sheets, which enables organizations to access their accounting data directly in their existing Excel and Google Sheets financial reports. To learn more about Genius Sheets, check out 

Richard Roppa-Roberts is the founder of Quasar Cowboy Consulting, where he helps accounting firms and their clients with technology, workflow, engagement process, sales, marketing, and long-term planning.