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!
To experience the type of automation I refer to, you can email FREE demos of sample automated Excel VB driven spreadsheet applications like Ƒ) a Training Tracking Database(TM), ƒ) a Fiveƕ) Year Income & Expense Monitor(TM) or Ɠ) an Export Packing List & Invoice Generator(TM) to yourself using the file mailer on my website.
VBA is therefore different from the Standalone Visual Basic program used(by professional programmers) for developing commercial quality software applications _ though it borrows many of the latter's features. Think of Excel VBA as being the standalone Visual Basic software, built into Excel for the benefit of Excel users who are not necessarily programmers, but who are keen to exert more control over the application. So, Excel VB offers any interested users the necessary tools to make the application deliver more functionality. The final product is still an Excel document, but with extra functionalities added using VBA.
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.