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Wyoming Business Tips for June

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Chad Baldwin, University of Wyoming

A monthly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Rob Condie, Wyoming SBDC Network regional director for Lincoln, Sublette, Sweetwater and Uinta counties

Is it possible to run your entire business in spreadsheets? Or will you need to upgrade to accounting software that can take additional training and could be costly?

From my time working with accounting software and knowledge of spreadsheets, valid arguments exist for which method would be better for your business. But, at the end of the day, I believe that an accounting system is the best way to go about your bookkeeping needs.

The Wyoming SBDC Network has a whole team of expert advisers with the skills required to help you take your accounting management to the next level. We also have a certified QuickBooks expert on staff to help you determine which accounting software will serve your small business best.

Let’s talk about why I don’t recommend using spreadsheets as your main method of accounting:

-- Excel formulas are complex and prone to error. Accounting software handles all of the calculations for you and does it properly.

-- Excel spreadsheets are susceptible to fraud because it’s easy to change information and hard to keep track of who’s making the changes, whereas accounting software maintains an audit trail.

-- Spreadsheet errors are easier to make -- copy/paste errors and moving content out of cells that other formulas base their calculations on -- and are much harder to track down.

-- Each income stream requires a different spreadsheet to track earnings. This means that, as we offer more services, the number of spreadsheets will increase, which can become confusing.

One of my favorite things about an accounting system is the ability to call up reports at any given time to see your business activity from many angles. There are built-in reports that will be familiar to you and anyone else who needs to look at your accounts, such as an income statement or balance sheet. You’ll also find reports broken out by vendor or sales item, among many others.

Fundamentally, accounting software is built to ensure that you record your accounting data effectively with minimal mistakes and good auditing. Many accountants and bookkeepers are more familiar with common accounting systems and can help with any discrepancies your accounts might have if you use their preferred tools.

You still need to be able to use your accounting software properly to get the most benefit from your program of choice. So be sure to connect with your Wyoming SBDC Network adviser for referrals to training opportunities and one-on-one, no-cost confidential advising.

The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2023, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 54 new businesses; support 1,857 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $3.1 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email, or write Dept. 3922, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071-3922.

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