The odds your degree or training covered a rudimentary introduction to the Microsoft Office Suite and Excel spreadsheet software – high. A bookie wouldn’t be interested in that one. The odds that your professors or trainer covered the ins and outs of the program and showed you some of the ways you can cut time and effort, as well as secret tricks to make your job as an office, I mean, financial manager a little easier? Place your bets!
The Setup’s Done For You
When you’re focused on reconciling payments, investment strategies, payroll, and other financial duties for your office, the last thing you want to do is get bogged down in setting up forms, especially trying to code calculations and macro formulas. Guess what? You don’t have to. Tap into Excel’s large collection of templates and enjoy the fact that the setup is done for you. You’ll find Excel’s template collection through the File menu, the Office button, right on the main startup screen, depending on which version you’re using, or at the Office Templates website. Templates include invoices, budgets, time sheets, expense reports, purchase orders, and more.
All Over AutoSum
AutoSum may be the poster child of Excel. You probably already know that by simply highlighting concurrent cells, then clicking the AutoSum button, you can add those cells together. True, this is great when you want to know how much you’ve spent on a budget line item or how many hours of payroll you’ve committed for the month. But there’s so much more. Put down the calculator, because you won’t need to use it. Click the “Formulas” tab and just look around on the ribbon. Although the items and layout vary slightly per version of Excel, all that you need to perform functions are there. It helps you not have to remember the difference between “WEEKDAY,” “WEEKNUM,” and “WORKDAY” for example.
Show, Don’t Tell
Think that Excel spreadsheets are just grids of cells to hold numbers? Think again. While it’s certainly possible that you can spend your entire time working with Excel using just data, you may be interested to know that a couple of clicks let you transform that data into a visual representation of what’s on the grid. You may be the “numbers” guy or gal, but your executive staff may not be. Finding the “Charts” section of the ribbon may be like hitting a jackpot for you. In a couple of clicks, you can select data points to form pie charts, bar graphs, and more. Use these pictorial pieces in conjunction with your spreadsheets to illustrate what you’re doing and even break up long strings of just numbers. Excel charts work seamlessly with other Office products, too. After you generate a pie chart in Excel, for example, you can simply right-click, copy, and paste it into a Word document. (You can even insert an entire Excel spreadsheet into a Word document, once you’ve saved it, and then edit it directly in Word.)
Get Some ROI
Whether you use an Excel template or create one from scratch, one of the biggest returns on using Excel is that you can put that form to use over and over. Why create a monthly budget from scratch, for example, when you can simply change the dates on the one you already made? This way, you get to keep your formatting, lists, macros, and even any imported images. It can also help you brand forms so they look the way your business prefers, with colors, logos, and even the way the columns and rows are laid out. Remember that whole cliché about working smarter, not harder? Excel helps you graduate with honors.
It’s probably a “sure thing” that you’re going to have Microsoft Excel as part of your basic productivity software package. You may still rely on QuickBooks or Peachtree, but don’t count Excel out. If you give it a chance, that “dark horse” may soon be galloping to the finish line and earning a Triple Crown!