Excel, as is well known, has become a nearly indispensable tool in accounting. It serves both the individual and the business, and on every level each requires. Its name, in fact, has become wholly identified with all accounting procedures. It is not, however, an accounting system.
Accounting systems are not actually programs, or even very sophisticated and complex programs. They are more methods and approaches geared to obtain specific results, and may rely on a variety of accounting tools. This may seem like a fine distinction, but it is not; a “system” should never be confused with a technology, implement, or device of tool of any kind because a system must be independent of whatever tools are at hand. A system is ultimately a concept or plan, born from a certain purpose.
It is certainly understandable that Excel was initially seen as a new accounting system. Nothing like it had been in place, and its continued evolution renders it, as noted, nearly essential for any business purposes. With Excel, it appears that the programs do the work because they facilitate it so well. This is why it has taken on the greater meaning. The reality, however, remains the same, as even Excel’s most advanced options can only move as directed.
Then, there are systems like simple bank reconciliation that appear to be synonymous with a program. It is important to note, however, that even so basic a system demands human input and overseeing. Excel can do a great deal in assembling data and producing results from complex processes, but it is nonetheless only an advanced, and very flexible, implement.