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Bookkeeping software can be as simple as a home produced spreadsheet but with additional facets that can have significant financial benefits to the business. Bookkeeping software produced on spreadsheets would normally be a series of spreadsheets with the columns preset and titled and formulae written into the sheet to automatically add up each column. In addition the columns used would normally be restricted to general headings to include a full analysis of all items. Small businesses that might produce their own spreadsheet would often do this on an annual basis. Bookkeeping software is much more likely to provide these bookkeeping spreadsheet templates on a monthly basis to enable a degree of financial control to be exercised by the small business.
Yet there is no tool for project management that is more popular or widespread than the spreadsheet despite the fact that spreadsheets are not designed to be project support tools. Even in organizations with an established project management tool spreadsheets are used. There are obvious reasons for this. A spreadsheet program is on almost every computer in every organization people are familiar with spreadsheets and how to use them and people are pre-disposed to use these "office" types of software tools to solve problems. And I am right there with them. I love using spreadsheets to track all kinds of data.
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Also how do you intend to handle depreciation and amortization since these are non-cash items that are typically added back to the income statement entries when determining the cash effect. Also how long is your investment horizon? Is it really that important to you to project out to 30 years or is 3-5 years sufficient along with a terminal value that represents the expected NPV beyond 5 years? Usually this latter approach works best and looks the most credible to potential investors. There are numerous ways to calculate terminal value including multiples current market values projected forward and round guesstimates. Obviously these decisions are affected by your personal preference and the type of investment for which you re calculating present value.
This is where the right project management software tool shines and spreadsheets fade. A good project management tool will be database-oriented and should allow for different types of ad hoc reporting across multiple projects. This enables the mining of all kinds of data. You simply cannot do this in a spreadsheet at the same level. If you really really know what you are doing it is possible to tie spreadsheets together and generate some integrated data. But that is not the same thing. You simply cannot on a whim mine into the data represented in your multiple spreadsheets. And in today s environment this is critically important.