What’s Wrong With Using Free Accounting Templates?

by Apr 15, 2019Bookkeeping

If you’re trying to cut your business expenses, you might be tempted to try DIY bookkeeping with free accounting templates. The idea behind free accounting templates is that they’ll make bookkeeping easier and cheaper. Although that sounds like a winning idea, when it comes to documenting and tracking your business financials, easy and cheap might not be the best way to go

Before you rush to download a batch of free accounting templates, here are 5 things to think about.

1. They’re easy to download but not so easy to use

Wouldn’t it be nice if bookkeeping was easier when you used a free form? Unfortunately, it’s not. You can’t just look at the template and hope you understand bookkeeping enough to put the numbers in the right columns and spaces. No matter how you do your bookkeeping, there’s a learning curve.

Free templates often have accompanying instructional articles or how-to videos. One free template comes with a 40-page instructional pdf. The first page recommends that you “…take some MS Excel training…” before using their free financial spreadsheet. (Definitely not easy.)

2. You’ll probably need someone to help you

After you’ve downloaded your free accounting templates and read the instructional materials, you’re usually on your own. The Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) is one exception. They know you’ll need more help so they provide a free online business workshop. It’s designed to help you figure out how to prepare a balance sheet using their free template. They further suggest that you connect with a SCORE mentor to discuss your free template questions.

Do you really have time for that?

Of course not. SCORE understands this as well. In their article, “Should You Hire an Accountant,” they suggest that, unless you’re in financial services, you should consider outsourcing your financial record-keeping.

3. Free isn’t necessarily free

Companies offer free templates to draw you into their captive audience. When you click a link to download your free accounting templates, the link usually takes you to a blog, a website, or to someplace or someone who’s trying to sell you something.

Once you’ve visited the website, they track you with a cookie on your computer. Some sites require your email address (for marketing purposes) before they allow you to download a template.

4. Accounting templates add to your workload

If you’re like a typical small business owner, you already wear several hats. Even if you have employees, you probably still market your company and generate sales. If you’re a solopreneur (solo entrepreneur) an artist or a crafter, you might even design, create and ship the products you sell. DIY bookkeeping, especially with free accounting templates, adds more tasks to an already lengthy to-do list.

5. Goode Bookkeeping can do it better

At Goode Bookkeeping & Consulting, our accounting professionals handle the bookkeeping tasks that can keep you in your office late at night. We track your cash flow, monitor your payables, receivables, invoices and more. When tax time comes, we can prepare your tax documents so you’re not scrambling at the last minute trying to beat a filing deadline.

We work with the latest accounting software and store your data in a secure cloud environment. We’re good at what we do. In fact, we’re far better for your business’ bottom line than a free accounting template.

Contact Goode Bookkeeping & Consulting

If you’re doing DIY bookkeeping with free accounting templates, we can show you a better way to track your financial data. Call us at (860) 659-6543 or complete our contact form and we’ll arrange a consultation at your convenience.

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