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Excel vs Sheets

How does Sheets compare to the spreadsheet dominator?

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It's been a while since I used Excel in any financial capacity, and Sheets suffices for the everyday spreadsheet needs, but do any accountants use Sheets for everything in the place of Excel? And if you do, how does it compare to Excel?

I've never been a huge fan of Microsoft Office, but few can argue with the complexity and capability of Excel. Will Sheets ever be able to compete? 

Would be grateful for your thoughts. Many thanks.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Jan 2021 17:00

I used to be a big fan os Sheets for training purposes when showing a client how to use a spreadsheet as you can both work on it at once. its still useful now if calling a client on a mobile/fixed line, and some clients like to use it for their regular bookkeeping, which means I can hop in any change anything and there are no issues around version control which is quite frankly a PITA when it comes to them sending you an a workbook, you working on it, and sending it back with corrections ----------- which never get corrected and we have to do it all again at yr end.

That said I tend now if working with a client on skype etc to just share screens albeit you lose the ability to both work on it.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By carnmores
18th Jan 2021 20:24
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By johnt27
19th Jan 2021 17:24

This is a bit like asking whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better...or maybe Xero vs QBO

There's little difference between the two (Sheets and Excel) assuming you're using the latest 64 bit versions. Users will tend to gravitate towards one or the other based on experience in the workplace.

Many of the differences are only really relevant to power users, for example, Sheets is limited to 5,000,000 cells of data whereas Excel will handle over 3000 times as many. Totally irrelevant unless you work for a government department managing a pandemic response ;)

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By Cheshire
19th Jan 2021 17:37

Star Wars, obviously.

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By carnmores
19th Jan 2021 17:42

John great analogies spot on

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Maddy Christopher
By Maddy Christopher
20th Jan 2021 10:18

Love the analogy.

I was angling to find out whether Sheets is viewed as being on the same level as Excel, I should have been more direct. Many thanks.

Are there any other primary differences worth noting? I should probably mention that I'm currently on the hunt for a Sheets and BigQuery expert so that we can look at providing the same sort of tutorials we do for Excel and PowerBI.

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By mgbacchus
19th Jan 2021 23:11

Never used Google Sheets but if it has equivalents to Excel's VBA, BI dashboards, Power Query and M formula then it could be as useful. If it doesn't then it's got left behind as these are tools I use all the time now.

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By ClaireB
21st Jan 2021 09:54

We use Sheets extensively in my commercial role - I don't think it's a patch on excel. For me, excel's superiority is in the ease of linking spreadsheets, editing multiple tabs simultaneously, formatting, charts, adding in objects, compatibility with other software which can be directly downloaded in an excel format or into an existing excel file.

I'm told that more can be done in Sheets than I use it for, but it's not intuitive and requires a lot more faffing around. At a micro level, even just formatting a cell with a top and bottom line takes twice the amount of clicks as in excel.

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By rmiddleton
21st Jan 2021 10:08

Another micro difference: Excel will auto-suggest/complete your entry in a list, after you do only a few keystrokes. Sheets doesn’t do that on my iPad.

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By NewACA
21st Jan 2021 12:09

Agreed, that makes a huge difference if you do bookkeeping in Excel for example. Just typing say "A" and "Accountancy" comes up, then hitting Enter, then typing "B" for bank charges on the next one and hit Enter etc is a lot quicker (in our bespoke Excel bookkeeping program) than doing the bank bookkeeping in Xero, even if it finds lots of transactins for you. You can clear about 20 copied and pasted bank statement lines in excel bookkeeping that way per minute, for a simple business. I didn't know that facility wasn't available in Google Sheets, I'll have to remember that.

I have an ACCA friend who told me in November that he worked for a large listed company that did all their bookkeeping in Excel, I was shocked.

The problem is that 99.99% of people don't realise the possibilities with Excel, so end up believing what they hear about all this online stuff being so much better than Excel - be it accounting software, or project management software, where they always ask if the user is still a dinosaur for using Excel.

Excel is soo powerful. It can really do almost anything (like filing VAT Returns via the HMRC MTD API or what-have-you). I remember being shown that Excel 1997 changed into a flight simulator program if you put a particular set of characters into a particular cell - there are videos of that on youtube. Then Bill Gates (so the story goes) ordered the code for that to be removed when people thought it was using up too much space on their installed Excel for the next edition of Excel. Now Excel 2010 is far more powerful than the 1997 version ever was...

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Replying to NewACA:
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By LukeS
22nd Jan 2021 12:39

Agree. I can work on bookkeeping/accounts FAR quicker on Excel than the new cloud products. It takes me longer to check the categories they've decided to feed into than me entering myself on Excel.

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Replying to NewACA:
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By JPMLondon
28th Apr 2021 08:39

I think I also once came across an Excel PacMan and an Excel Mediaplayer...
Weird, but fun!

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Replying to rmiddleton:
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By NewACA
21st Jan 2021 12:12

I've just checked, Google Sheets does have an auto-complete, but you might need to turn it on:

https://www.getexceltips.com/how-to-enable-autocomplete-in-google-docs-s....

Maybe its just that we just don't know Google Sheets so well...

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Replying to NewACA:
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By rmiddleton
21st Jan 2021 15:56

You got my hopes up about Autocomplete being available in Sheets. I think you my be right, it may be there - but only for the desktop version. I still couldn’t find it in the (cut-down?) version on my iPad. Hopes dashed ...

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By mgbacchus
22nd Jan 2021 10:36

Another consideration although not to do with functionality - and it may be important to you - Google as a company holds lots of data on you and uses tracking cookies all over the place. I just avoid using Google products as far as I can. I use Firefox, Brave or Tor as a browser, DuckDuckGo as a search engine and Trello as a collaboration tool (where the Microsoft tools aren't useable). (Other alternatives are of course available.) I also avoid companies like SurveyMonkey too that uses Google Analytics where I can.

Microsoft's ethics have not always been the best but at least I have to give them less data than Google - and I like to keep control over who knows what about me if I can.

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By SteveHa
28th Apr 2021 10:13

Dunno. I use LibreOffice.

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