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What’s the Big Deal with Microsoft Excel?

OK.  I admit that Excel was one of the last Microsoft Office products that I learned to use.  After taking the time to learn it, I had to scratch my head and wonder how in the world I managed my life all those years without it!  So, this post is for any of you who may be wondering what all the hoopla is about Excel.

Spreadsheets are one of the most useful tools in your business tool bag. Even if you never become an expert, just learning to use the raw, simple power of the basics of a software program such as Microsoft Excel will make a huge difference in your efficiency as a business owner or manager. There are other spreadsheet programs on the market, but Microsoft Excel or the Open Office equivalent is far and away the proverbial 800 lb. gorilla. Kind of like Google is when you talk about search engines.

What’s In a Spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet is comprised of cells in rows and columns that make an electronic grid where you can add numerical data of any kind – dates, currency, percentages, or just plain ol’ numbers. Managing varying types of numbers is a vital part of staying in business. Unless you have a huge client base, most of your basic tracking and accounting could be done in a spreadsheet if you have some basic skills to set it up. When you begin to increase the number of clients, and your inventory, you would need to think about migrating over the numbers to a true accounting software.

Here are some common uses of a spreadsheet for your business:

  • Tracking expenses
  • Recording new sales
  • A record of prices
  • Cash flow projections
  • Keeping track of job times
  • Tracking commissions due and paid

The Uses Are Limited Only By Your Imagination

As you read this list, I’m sure your wheels are turning, and you’re already thinking of many other ways you could use a spreadsheet. I own a voice messaging company and my “inventory” is phone numbers. My accounting software had no good way for me to tie a list of phone numbers to a particular client, especially when they added numbers, deleted numbers, etc., as the employees changed.

One of the first spreadsheets I ever learned to make was to keep track of what numbers were assigned to which customer. That was 17 years ago, and I still use that same spreadsheet. I cannot imagine running my business without it. I have another useful spreadsheet that tracks my recurring revenue. There is a certain element involved in this rather complex business that just isn’t handled the way I prefer in my accounting software, so a spreadsheet does the trick for me.

Text can be added to a spreadsheet as well as charts, graphs and even pictures. Microsoft Excel is probably one of my most heavily used programs, next to Word, of course!

Once you have entered your data, then the fun starts by making formulas with the basic mathematical functions such as addition, substraction, multiplication and division. To see what would happen if…just change the number in one cell and watch the magic take place. It’s a great way to dream of “what if…” and actually see the numbers come to life.

Due to increased requests from our list of followers at Business Training Team, we are offering a comprehensive course designed for the Beginner and Intermediate Levels of Excel.  It will include Live Q&A Webinar training, previously recorded video training by a Certified Microsoft Office Specialist, and also written practice exercise sheets to download.   P

Please click here for more info:  MakeExcelWork

Also, if you haven’t already done it, look up in the upper left side of this site and click to claim your free 10-page report on Office Tips and Shortcuts.  My gift to you.