by Praveen Prakash
Microsoft Excel was released in 1985 and has grown to become arguably the most important computer program in workplaces around the world. In business, literally, any function in any industry can benefit from those with strong Excel knowledge. Excel is a powerful tool that has become entrenched in business processes worldwide—whether for analyzing stocks or issuers, budgeting, or organizing client sales lists.
Finance and Accounting
Financial services and financial accounting are the areas of finance that rely on and benefit from Excel spreadsheets the most. In the 1970s and early 1980s, financial analysts would spend weeks running advanced formulas either manually or (beginning in 1983) on programs like Lotus 1-2-3. Now, you can perform complex modeling in minutes with Excel.
Walkthrough the finance or accounting department of any major corporate office, and you will see computer screens filled with Excel spreadsheets crunching numbers, outlining financial results, and creating budgets, forecasts, and plans used to make major business decisions.
Marketing and Product Management
While marketing and product professionals look to their finance teams to do the heavy lifting for financial analysis, using spreadsheets to list customer and sales targets can help you manage your salesforce and plan future marketing strategies based on past results.
Using a pivot table, users can quickly and easily summarize customer and sales data by category with a quick drag-and-drop.
Human Resources Planning
While database systems like Oracle, SAP, and QuickBooks can be used to manage payroll and employee information, exporting that data into Excel allows users to discover trends, summarize expenses and hours by pay period, month, or year, and better understand how your workforce is spread out by function or pay level.
HR professionals can use Excel to take a giant spreadsheet full of employee data and understand exactly where the costs are coming from and how to best plan and control them for the future.
You Can Do Anything with a Spreadsheet
Using Excel for business has almost no limits for applications. Here are some examples:
- When planning a team outing to a baseball game, you can use Excel to track the RSVP list and costs.
- Excel creates revenue growth models for new products based on new customer forecasts.
- When planning an editorial calendar for a website, you can list out dates and topics in a spreadsheet.
- When creating a budget for a small product, you can list expense categories in a spreadsheet, update it monthly and create a chart to show how close the product is to budget across each category.
- You can calculate customer discounts based on monthly purchase volume by product.
- Users can summarize customer revenue by product to find areas where to build a stronger customer relationship.
It will move you up the corporate ladder
Excel is the core tool for most accounting firms, used to forecast and facilitate a company’s growth, as well as to help decision-makers determine what a system needs and what changes should be implemented. Even if you hate Excel, it’s one of those platforms you can’t avoid in the accounting world, no matter how senior a position you hold. Accounting analysts, managers, and even directors, are expected to have mastered it and be able to use it with the utmost efficiency. To stay in accounting, you’ll have to learn to love it – or at least to use it properly.
It’s not about Excel vs CPM, but Excel AND CPM
What if you could keep Excel and continue to enjoy the control, self-sufficiency, and creative license you’ve come to rely on while achieving all of the benefits of CPM software, including single version of the truth, secure multi-user workflow, intuitive analysis, and reporting? What if you could keep Excel and, in the words of a recent Harvard Business Review report, “react quickly, increase productivity, and compete effectively?”