Like many small-business owners, I use Microsoft Excel when I do my business accounting. I realize that Excel isn’t an accounting system, but for my limited needs it’s always worked fairly well. Unfortunately, however, I’ve noticed that many of my clients, including those with seven-figure annual revenues, rely on an accounting process that’s nothing more than a spreadsheet program and ledger books.

The few who have looked into improving their systems have talked to vendors who recommend large, complex, and expensive accounting applications with significant training expenses. I recommend other options, but they don’t make changes. The most common reason for inaction is that nobody is willing to spend the few dollars and time necessary to get a new application, even an inexpensive one, up and running.

Lately, I've been telling these clients to try Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007. It’s free for the download, which takes away many of the excuses for not acquiring the software, and the wizard-driven setup makes configuring it for a small business fairly simple. The download totals 208MB, and if that’s too much for your connection, Microsoft will send you an installation CD-ROM, gratis, within two weeks. Nearly half a dozen of my clients are now successfully using Accounting Express. You can download Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 from http://ideawins.com.