Excel provides a very flexible worksheet that allows you to perform powerful calculations and analysis on your data. This flexibility allows you the ultimate freedom to perform just about any type of business calculations.
Microsoft Access, on the other hand, would take your Excel workflow design and extend that to the database model. For example, you may be invoicing on Excel and after some initial changes the only thing that would change would be the data that you entered into the spreadsheet. At some point, Excel may start to show it’s limitations when you want to have greater control over your information.
When the spreadsheet has been perfected and no further design changes are necessary, you could then “lock” those rules into a database. Access allows you to firmly establish exactly how data is entered, modified, viewed and printed. This allows you to keep strict controls on your information and to insure tight data integrity. In addition, Access is designed to hold large amounts of data (records) compared to Excel so that you can capture data for much longer periods of time in a much more manageable and efficient format.
You could keep track of additional data, such as a product description and pricing, and integrate this data into your invoicing form to make the invoicing form more robust. In addition, you can make sure that a customer is entered before the record is saved in order to insure data integrity. You can keep adding additional features to your database until you have a perfectly working invoicing module that conforms exactly to your business needs!
In addition, Access has excellent reporting capabilities that can produce powerful and amazing reports. It is Access’ ability to firmly establish data rules and enforce data integrity that sets it apart from Excel. When you need to start working with larger amounts of data entry, editing, viewing and reporting, Access’ powerful ability to process and protect your data’s integrity becomes the essential component that sets Access apart from Excel.