Is Tiller better suited for Google Sheets or Excel

With the understanding that Tiller was started with Sheets, is there a general belief in time Excel will be on par with Sheets?

Are there things that Sheets does or features it has that Excel simply isn’t capable of doing? I’m a basic Excel user mainly because I’ve always used Microsoft Office. So Excel is more of a habit and more widely used, in my opinion.

I saw some older posts asking generally the same question, but for a couple of years, it seems as though Excel users have wondered what kind of commitment and resources Tiller will put into Excel to bring it in line with Sheets. Or if this will even be possible given Tillers’ self-admitted resource limitations with staff. And possibly limitations within Excel to achieve a similar experience for Excel users.

I saw someone from Tiller touting Microsoft’s outreach to Tiller and “exciting things to come” as a signal to Excel users that parity with Sheets is in the works. That was over a year ago. That kind of “sign off” from Microsoft would seem to imply either Microsoft modifying their Excel architecture to close some of the gaps with Sheets, or providing Tiller with resources (modifications, workflows, or capital investments) to help Tiller’s Excel advancement.

I haven’t seen any recent news from Tiller about a sudden accelerated push to bring Tiller up to par with Sheets. Just sort of rehashed comments about staff limitations and Excel features not part of the current roadmap or foreseeable future. Kind of mixed messages.

I wonder, and maybe this is what other Excel users wonder, is it beneficial or worth it to commit to learning how to use Sheets or is there truly a plan to make Tiller as functional in Excel in the short term?

My concern is taking what little I know in Excel in exchange for Sheets. I don’t plan to move away from Office, except for this one app if that’s the better route for using Tiller long term. I don’t want to start on one side only to find out the other option is where Tiller is committed to developing.

I would love to hear from both Tiller and the community about this path. How has Tiller advanced their Excel offerings since their announcement and what kind of timeframe commitment is planned for the Excel side?

Thanks, everyone! :sunglasses:

Tiller has been working VERY hard on providing solutions in Excel. I’m convinced of their commitment to beefing up their Excel offerings. Do some searching here, and you will find a huge (compared to a year ago) amount of solutions that work with Excel. Also the Tiller community has been VERY active in providing excellent Excel workflows. Just recently, Tiller added the ability to add Tiller templates to Excel using the Tiller Addin for Excel. This lays the foundation for many more templates in the future. The one thing that Google Sheets has that Excel does not, is the sheets Query() function. It works right within the sheets cell. Excel has this, but the implementation is complicated.
Tiller has made many announcements and has been quite clear in their commitment to Excel.
I am waiting for an Envelopes based template for Excel and am more confident than ever that Tiller will add that in the future.

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In my opinion, it will be hard for the Excel to catch up to the Sheets version. Things just work in Sheets today. Everything they are doing in Excel is just to catch up with the capabilities Sheets has had for 5 years. and it is really slow going. Given the small staff I don’t think there will ever be much progress made in the near term, it appears they are spread too thin.

Honestly, Tillers product is the feed from the banks to the spreadsheet. I don’t expect them to build any killer templates, it’s just not their focus, the feeds is. This is why they rely no the community for the templates. and today it is much easier to build a template in Sheets and share it to the world.

@richl That is my first impression as well. Sheets has had many things in place and working for several years and their staff size (which they admit is small) doesn’t seem to lend itself to meaningful progress with Excel. That’s why I referred to their “canned” response of “That’s not on our roadmap for Excel in the near future”. But their CEO has a video that seems to infer exciting things are now here for Excel or coming very soon now that they have Microsoft’s endorsement. I think that was in 2022.

I hope Tiller’s product is NOT just their feed from the banks. From all the community posts relating to various issues with feeds (from their end or their partner aggregator), that would seem to be a major shortcoming. If their partner is an industry leader in this area, someone has been misled. Their number one priority would then seem to be to find a better partner or multiple partners to fill in where one falls short.

I love the flexibility of spreadsheets and would love Tiller to be a solution. Still, from your view and what I’ve read in posts, they need to rebrand themselves as a partial solution, not an automated financial solution. I also get the vibe they are heavily reliant on community solutions for spreadsheet innovation. The community is their partner and is surrendering any financial gains for their efforts according to the Terms of Service.

@jemmoa7 I’m glad you’ve seen progress for the Excel side over the past year, but even you say “the Tiller community has been VERY active in providing excellent Excel workflows.” Which seems to align with what @richl was saying.

It would be easy to say I’m just looking to find fault with Tiller and that would be incorrect. As I’ve said, I researched and watched a fairly good amount of content from YouTube reviews both from independent creators and Tiller’s official channel which seemed to indicate Tiller was an industry-leading personal finance solution ready to fill the voids left by Microsoft Money and Mint.

Let me be clear. I want Tiller to succeed, but it is important to have a clear understanding of its roadmap and status. Having more information on Tiller’s current priorities and its short-term and long-term goals is beneficial to all and would be helpful in someone’s decision to commit to Tiller.

@richl and @jemmoa7 I appreciate both of your insights and perspectives. I hope to learn more.

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So two things,

First I was commenting on if Tiller is better with Sheets Vs Excel. that’s it. I wasn’t commenting on if I think Tiller is good or bad. I have been a customer since 2019 and it has met my needs which is to get the data into the spreadsheet where I do with what I want with it. But I am also an IT worker with years of excel/sheets experience. I would consider my Excel Kung Fu skills to be better than most. My expectations have always been set correctly and I know what is involved in building a workable solution. I think people with little to no spreadsheet skills are expecting a much more polished experience, which I don’t think is the case.

2nd, I have asked several times for a roadmap of what Tiller is working on. They have never provided. Even as a Tiller “Super-Hero” I am unclear on what is being worked on and where their near-term focus is. I wish that would change, but I don’t expect it to.

Personally I find sheets painfully slow.

As a newbie I’ve started with Excel so can’t comment on the technical details. One thing I’ve been thinking about is “what if I die”? What I want to do is provide my executor with a password to access my excel networth spreadsheet (or google sheet). But it occured to me that unless my executor has the sophistication to install Tiller in his excel (BIG ASK) it might work better if I did it in Sheets in the cloud and provided my gmail username and password so they can login to my google account. I’m assuming that if I did that Tiller would update without additional contortions. I just think having to have the executor load a plugin and figure it out probably wouldn’t be practical

performance in sheets is an interesting topic. And you can be correct. Different formulas have different impacts to performance. There are some volatile formulas that take a ton or resources and have to constantly be recalculated. Unfortunately, there really is no way to determine the fastest solution.

For me I use Sheets and have over 15000 transactions, 200 Categories, and have a Balance History of over 4 years and the performance of my sheet is fine.

I think the issue is everyone has different use cases.

@markv68 When I moved to Tiller a couple years ago I tried both. I actually ran both of them side by side for a while. I settled on Sheets for two primary reasons. 1) Everything for Tiller just seemed more native in Sheets. The integration seemed smoother and the feature set seemed more complete. 2) Sheets is just more portable. Because Google’s products started as cloud offerings they are just inherently more focused that way, where as Microsoft’s products suite is still focused on desktop apps. Because of that I believe the Sheets version is more portable. It is easily accessed from my phone, table, home computer, work computer, anywhere I go because it is inherently cloud-based.

Now having said all of that some people are just more comfortable in Microsoft’s echo system and there is nothing wrong with that. But for this use, my experience was Sheets as a better platform.

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@jemmoa7 I know it isn’t a perfect version the envelopes system, but I have been able to use the Savings Budget add-on to mimic this functionality. I have created “envelopes” for about 10-15 categories that are either savings categories for things like gifts and travel or yearly bills for things like renter’s insurance and taxes. I came from the Mvelopes app and have been using the Dave Ramsey philosophy for years so finding a way to make this work was very important to me. It is actually a pretty slick system.

I have tried many times to figure out the Savings Budget and gave up each time. I wish there was comprehensive documentation that is all in one place, but I’ve yet to find it.
I started using YNAB back in September '23 and it’s been working great. I had to resign myself that YNAB allows no “deficits”. Once that’s accepted, it’s a pretty slick Envelope budget system. I still use Tiller by utilizing YNAB’S API to create a Category, Transactions, Accounts, and Balance History sheet. With those I can pretty much use most of the Tiller spreadsheets.
I’ll take another look at Savings budget again and see if I can make it work.

Have you watched the YouTube video where @randy explains and walks through the Savings Budget? I think it’s the best guidance out there on it. The Savings Budget is my workhorse sheet. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a really powerful tool.

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@richl we usually share this at a high level in the form of a blog post near the beginning of the year: Tiller's Focus Heading Into 2024, Plus A Quick Look Back - Tiller

Right now our focus is similar to 2023 in that we still have a lot of room to improve the overall quality of the bank feeds and make it easier for people to get started with Tiller. In addition to that there is always a constant list of operational improvements to simply to keep our software scalable, efficient, and secure.

Last year our big initiative to improve bank feeds fell into two major areas:

  1. Improving the way the data coming from yodlee is processed so that if for some reason we’re unable to accept an incoming “package” we can process yodlee’s retry events - this improved the reliability of the feeds by ensuring people didn’t end up with gaps in their transactions requiring them to manually go fetch them
  2. Implementing Fastlink 4 (the new UI for account refreshes/adds)

Much of the year was focused on a better start up experience

  1. A new Tiller Console (also an operational/architectural requirement)
  2. More features in Microsoft Excel (Manual transactions, Manual balances)
  3. The Spending Trends sheet and some other experiments with the Foundation Template

Additionally, we did a lot of under the hood operational and architectural improvements to increase the efficiency of our engineering team and laid some ground work for upcoming development.

It might seem like a small amount of work but there is so much out of view that’s happening from our engineering team. We just added a new engineer and he’s already showing tremendous output despite the somewhat insane complexity of our system/software.

So I would say we did pretty darn good for 2023

As for this year, we’re pretty close to offering a subset of our beta group access to a second aggregator to assess it’s reliability compared to Yodlee and we just released a new debt template and template management features for Excel in the last two weeks.

Google Sheets has had a big head start on Excel and now Google Sheets is lagging behind Excel from a performance perspective, which is likely going to require our attention in the near term.

We don’t like to give specific roadmap initiatives or timelines simply because we don’t want to promise something and then be unable to deliver due to some other opportunity or just realize that the level of effort to build something isn’t worth the return (not only to us, but also to customers). I think this is pretty consistent with most other companies (they don’t share specific public roadmaps).

Every feature we build adds complexity to our code that must be regularly maintained. We’re still trying to clean up from ancient features/systems that are no longer in use. So we choose carefully.

Believe me, I can’t wait for a day when we’re just crushing users’ feature requests and I think you’re right we are spread too thin, but we are working on that too.

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@jemmoa7 I have to agree with @dmetiller. Until I watched the YouTube video on the Savings Budget “tab” I was really struggling to understand it. This is the page that got me over the hump using the Savings Budget. Docs: Savings Budget sheet.

Like I said it took some time, but the way it works now it perfect for how I budget. It works almost exactly like the Mvelopes app I moved from. It shows balances, allows deficits in categories, which works for me because I have sub-categories that I treat as a roll-up for expenses that are all in the same “family”. If you are used to an envelope style budget this is truly the answer for it, especially given that all the other feature set of Tiller are still available. I almost never use the standard budget sheet at this point.

Good luck!!

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Thank you for the information. I’ll look at the video (this time seriously!)
I appreciate your help!
Jim

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Sure thing. Like @andy, I pretty much never even look at the Monthly Budget sheet anymore since I started using the Saving Budget sheet. I suppose I’ve become a bit of a power user at this point, and if I can help get you sorted, feel free to post any questions (probably in another thread as we’ve sort of derailed this one).

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@jemmoa7 Ditto to what @dmetiller said.

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When you say a sheet is available for the desktop version of excel does that mean MS365 will NOT run this spreadsheet?

MS365 is the preferred/supported way to use Excel for Tiller Money.

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