This last point in my opinion is ONE major benefit you must seek to extract, if you choose to engage the services of a developer. S/he should be able to help you develop (in_house) expertise needed to maintain the application AFTER s/he is gone. If you fail to ensure this, all your cost_savings from using the application might end up being spent paying the developer to maintain the application over time in the future!
I believe using either of these two applications should not pose any problems for implementing your spreadsheet automation ideas. This is because both have always been "friendly", towards making it easy for users to get more functionality out of them by way of custom programming.
Another question I ask, in answering the "Why Excel VB?" question is : "Why re_invent the wheel? ". My experiences(and those of others who favour the use of Excel VB like I do), confirm that to organise, and analyse data for (financial/management) report generation and decision making, you will save hundreds of hours using already in_built, pre_programmed Excel functions compared to a situation where you used Visual Basic proper. All the functions needed to achieve the above purposes already exist in Excel, so that you don't have to write them all from scratch as would be the case if you were to use Visual Basic. 3.It works even when you lack "In House" expertise.
At times, they would prefer to click a button that says "Print ABC", or "Print XYZ" report, instead of having to crawl all over the huge spreadsheet(and get "lost" every now and then), to highlight and print different report pages. Using a custom built data entry form to make data entries into 14 different cells in different parts of a table(at the same time/with one click) would, for them, be "heaven" compared to making the entries one at a time.
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