A Microsoft Girl in a Google World: Using Google Apps

A Microsoft Girl in a Google World: Using Google Apps

When did Google Apps become such a big part of our lives?

I remember receiving an invitation to Google Sheets from my tech-savvy brother-in-law back in December 2006. I thought it was cool, and though very similar, I never thought it would replace my beloved Excel. I didn’t “get it.” Then, I started receiving all of these Google Doc forms. Remember that? It seemed like everyone was on this Google kick except me. I was hesitant to move into the Google world because I was trying to avoid having all of my life captured by this large corporation who would somehow be able to discover my darkest secrets.

After awhile, it became apparent that I would not be able to avoid Google any longer. I used Chrome, so I had to have a Google account anyway. So then, little by little, Google crept into my life until I finally cried “uncle” and went “all in.”

Life Before Google Apps

I exclusively use QuickBooks® Online (QBO) for my accounting software, and provide my clients with comprehensive reporting packages, including Profit and Loss trends, Actual vs. Budget, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Forecasts. I used to download these reports from QBO into Excel, combine those files into one Excel workbook, add notes to specific cells needing explanations and send to my clients. This workbook was saved in my Dropbox folder and usually never again opened by me. At the same time, I was sending questions to my clients via email.

One day, I felt compelled to put a question inside one of the comments in the Excel file and thought I would probably never receive an answer back. If only there were a way to track that question and leave it open until my client answered. So … that is when my true conversion to Google Sheets began.

Testing Google Sheets

Converting the Excel file to Google Sheets was easy enough. Some of the fonts had to be formatted and column widths adjusted, but other than that, everything looked the same – except now, when I add my comment, there is an open item right there on the tab of the worksheet and I can see how many comments are still open. When my clients answer the question, I can see it in the Google Sheet and I can even get an email alert.

This is a Collaborative Tool I Can Now NOT Live Without

Google Sheets has now changed my one-way reporting into an incredibly collaborative experience that allows me and my clients to have a dialogue about even the tiniest questions. Once the discussion is over, I can resolve the open item and archive the interaction inside the sheet. I can add comments for everything and know when each item has been resolved.

You can be sure that you are all using the latest version of the file, making changes simultaneously, no more emailing back and forth, and no concern about software versions. This is a cloud-based tool that looks the same, whether you are on your phone, laptop, PC, iPad or Mac.

Expanding Into New Google Apps

With my new-found love of Google Sheets, I wondered how I could similarly use Google Docs (instead of Microsoft Word). Well, it didn’t take long before I converted all of my internal and external (shared with clients) policies and procedures from Word to Google Docs. Now, whenever I make a change, I know that everyone has the most current version. I even have the links to these procedures in my workflow application.

In the world of Google apps, I still feel like a Google newbie and know I have a lot to learn. Some of you probably think I’m really behind the curve, but I’m learning. For those of you who haven’t tried Google products yet, I challenge you to just try it once to see what I’m talking about.

For me, the only roadblock I have with my full transition to Google Sheets is that I still have to use Excel as a bridge between QBO and Google Sheets. Hopefully, the savvy Intuit® programmers will figure out a way for us to download reports from QBO directly into Google Sheets someday soon.

Just as I am on the edge of discovering the possibilities of Google products, I am excited to embrace any new technology that is coming our way.