A business that has moved more of its workflows to software is less dependent on the founder, and, therefore, is more valuable.

The fastest-growing and most profitable firms are the ones that say no to clients the most. The more restrictive their service is, the better the practice is.

– Michael Wood, Founder & CEO at Translucent.io

Excel and Google Sheets are still prevalent in the background. We’re always going to revert back to Intel. No matter what software we’ve got or which vendors we’re using. They are going to be the fundamental cornerstone of our businesses.

– John Toon, Tech Strategy Lead at Beever and Struthers

I’m sharing the second debate I recorded from the Festival of Accountants and Bookkeepers in Birmingham in March 2024. The debate topic is Excel vs Software.

This is the last of three podcasts from the Festival, which was hosted by the brilliant people from AccountingWeb.co.uk, the UK’s premier online accounting news publication.

In this episode, I’m moderating tech strategist John Toon and industry titan Michael Wood battle it out:

  • Michael argues that while Excel excels for individual tasks, software is better suited for collaboration and building efficient business workflows.
  • John counters that users, not the tools, are often to blame for Excel’s downfalls and that Excel can effectively replace basic accounting tasks for some clients. 
  • The debate weighs the impact of tools on practice efficiency, profitability, and eventual sale value, with both sides acknowledging Excel’s enduring relevance alongside advancing software.
  • Accounting tool selection is complex; listeners can reflect on the winning side.

Unfortunately, the audio has a bit of background noise, so I apologise. If you persevere, I think the content will be worthwhile.

I want to thank Michael Wood and John Toon for participating in the debate and the organisers of the Festival of Accountants and Bookkeepers for hosting the event. I hope to attend again in 2025. 

It was a thought-provoking debate, and as I suspected, Michael brought a lot more to the conversation than I possibly could.

Listening back, I realised John Toon did not mention a few of the many hats he wears. He is the Tech Strategy Lead at Beever and Struthers, has launched a community called the Digital Disruptors, and is the co-host of the DigiTools in Accrual World podcast. 

I encourage you to pause and subscribe to his podcast, DigiTools in Accrual World, right now, and then come back and listen to the Excel vs. Software debate.

One last story to share with you. At the Festival, I met a man who had been listening to the Accounting Apps podcast for years. It had changed his career and approach to the accounting community. It’s always fulfilling to hear stories like his.

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