Excel, a spreadsheet software program from Microsoft Corporation, is so well known that, because it can be used for financial calculations, some might think Excel to be the only financial software available. The truth is that spreadsheets are only one of many types of software used for finance, and Excel is only one of many brands of spreadsheet.
Spreadsheets Other Than ExcelSpreadsheet programs are computerized versions of the paper ledgers people used to laboriously construct manually, using adding machines or calculators to figure the values to write in the cells formed by the intersection of rows and columns. VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3 were the first commercially available spreadsheet programs, starting in the early 1980s. Spreadsheets available today include Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, Abykus, Numeric, CleanSheets, Apple's Numbers for the Macintosh and Google Calc, an online spreadsheet to be used through a Web browser.
Bookkeeping and Accounting SoftwareBookkeeping and accounting software helps small business owners track the finances of their companies. Features may include bill pay, inventory, invoicing and transaction entry based on the double-entry bookkeeping system that is the standard debit-asset balancing model for business finance. Programs include QuickBooks, Peachtree Accounting, Microsoft Dynamics, MYOB, Advantage Business Software and many more. More elaborate programs exist for larger companies as well.
Dell.KACE.comPersonal Financial Software
Personal financial software is designed for managing household finances, allowing users to track transactions in checking and savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s and other accounts home users are likely to have. A few examples are Quicken, Moneydance, Microsoft Money, Debtonator and Money Manager, but there are hundreds of different programs.
Tax Preparation SoftwareA variety of tax preparation software programs are available to help people prepare their own taxes, or organize their taxes in anticipation of taking them to a professional tax prep service. TaxAct lets you do your taxes entirely online, while programs such as TaxCut and TurboTax are installed on your personal computer. Tax prep software typically gives you the option to submit your state and federal returns over the Internet directly from the program, saving you the steps of printing and mailing returns. The United States Internal Revenue Service provides a free tax prep software program, Free File, for users who can file relatively simple tax returns.
ReferencesTechie Buzz: Free Microsoft Excel / Spreadsheets Alternatives
Apple: Numbers '09
DSSResources.com: A Brief History of Spreadsheets
IRS: Free File Home --- Your Link to Free Federal Online Filing
ResourcesAccounting Softwares Directory: Small Business Software
Microsoft: Microsoft Dynamics
TAXSites.com: Tax Software
Accounting Softwares Directory: Personal Finance Softwares