Why I can’t live without Excel
Why I can’t live without Excel
I realised the other day that I can’t live without Excel. That’s because I use Microsoft Excel every day. So, what do I use Excel for? For so many things. Household budgets, tracking holidays, jobs to be completed, marketing plans for the business, task lists, assignments, client lists.
Excel What-If Comparisons
What-if comparisons are a big one. What if I change my superannuation to a new fund. Will it give me better returns? What if I change my mortgage interest rate. How much difference will it make to my repayments? What if I increase sales by 5%. How much will that improve my profit?
What if I can create a budget that allows me to save 20% of my income each month. How many years will it take until I can cut back on work and start living on the income from my investments?
How many Excel files do I have?
If I had to search my personal computer for Excel files, I would find dozens of them. They are in every folder, holding important information on my life. If I search for Excel files on my desktop computer at work, there are hundreds of them.
I’ve been using Excel since it was first released back in the 1980’s. I’ve been training friends, family, colleagues and clients on how to use Excel, ever since. Even the most basic understanding of how to use an Excel spreadsheet can change your life.
Basic Budgets with Excel
I remember teaching my very first classes in Excel. I would always stray from the set curriculum and make the practice exercise the creation of a simple personal budget. It was important that my students understood how setting up a simple spreadsheet, entering income and expenses, then changing the numbers around according to circumstances, could have a huge impact on their lives.
Changing Lives with Excel
I have gone on to create a lot of personal budgets for both family and friends over the years. I did one recently for a girlfriend who was preparing herself to sell her family home, as she could no longer afford it. She was also starting a new business on the side, while holding down a full time job, and was just completely stressed over all the balls she had up in the air.
So, I invited her over for a glass of wine after dinner, and we sat down and did her budget for her. Not only was she living well beyond her means, but her income was actually far higher than she realised. She had plenty of room to make simple changes to her life, and “pay herself first”, instead of spending every cent and always being short. Not only did this simple Excel spreadsheet change her view of her finances, it changed her life. She kept the house, moved to a lovely apartment by the beach, and got her new business up and running the next month, which has been a great success for her. Microsoft Excel to the rescue, again.
Using Excel at Work
Of course, the major users of Excel are business people. Excel is used for as many things in a business as I use it for in my personal life.
- Storing business information and identifying emerging trends in your data
- What-if analyses using Excel scenarios and data tables
- Creating a range of charts and graphs
- Using pivot tables to sort, count, total or average data
- Providing financial information such as budgets, forecasts, and financial results
- Creating customer databases and tracking sales targets and results
- Managing marketing information and ROI on marketing campaigns
- Tracking employee data such as expenses, work hours, and performance reporting
- Downloading reports from your accounting software to complete analyses on your business performance
The list goes on and on. However, suffice to say that Excel is one of the most important tools in the office today. Having a working knowledge of Excel is vital for most business professionals.
The benefits of Excel
Consider the benefits of capturing and using business knowledge more effectively. Once you become familiar with the powerful functions available in Excel, you will have the ability to make informed business decisions based on the data provided by your Excel spreadsheets.
Strong skills in Excel can also lead to promotions and leadership opportunities. Those in charge of the information are usually the ones in charge.
These are just some of the reasons why I can’t live without Excel.
How will you be using Excel today?
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