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The power of Microsoft Excel in business: how to work smarter, faster, better

“Technological illiteracy, much less technophobia, is no longer a sustainable option for the modern worker,” – Wall Street Journal

There is a gem in the Microsoft Office crown: It’s called Excel. Most people have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft Excel. While some love its features and use it on a regular basis, others prefer to use something else or simply nothing at all if they can help it. Excel is a powerful tool that has become entrenched in business processes worldwide. However, most people are only tapping into the surface of its capabilities.

I’ve been teaching Excel to business professionals for more than 14 years and absolutely still love it! What I’ve discovered over the years is this: tasks that some people complete in eight hours others can do in five minutes — or in some cases in five seconds. While some find it very hard to believe, I prove it to be true in my workshops again and again. According to Investopedia’s article entitled, “The Importance of Excel In Business”, there are 3 core business areas (listed below) that rely heavily on the software; and I couldn’t agree more. Even if your work doesn’t fall into any of these categories, I guarantee that there is a group of Excel features for you.

Finance and accounting

If you walk through the finance or accounting department at any major corporate office, you will see computer screens filled with Excel spreadsheets outlining financial results, budgets, forecasts, and plans used to make big business decisions. This is the area of business with the biggest reliance and benefit from Excel spreadsheets. Advanced formulas in Excel can turn manual processes that take weeks to complete into something that takes only a few minutes. Most users know that Excel can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, but it can do much more with advanced IF functions when coupled with VLOOKUP, INDEX-MATCH-MATCH, and pivot tables. If you would like to learn more formulas, there are many resources and courses available but be sure to go to an Excel expert or use a credible source.

Marketing, sales 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 sales force and plan future marketing plans 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. All parts of the business can benefit from strong Excel knowledge, and marketing functions are not exempt.

Human resources planning and management
While specialty database systems 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…and this is just the beginning. 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.

Over my entire technology training history, I have taught ways and seen first-hand how Excel can be used to increase sales, make strategic decisions and multiple manpower – among so many other things. A working knowledge of Excel is vital for professionals and business leaders today. And while Excel is a powerful tool, it cannot function alone. It takes a savvy computer user to take advantage of everything Excel has to offer to provide the best results for their company…in a smarter, faster and better way.

Do you want to test your skill level in Microsoft Excel? Take my FREE Excel Skill Level Assessment to determine the best level and type of excel training for you. Contact me at keshelle@keshelledavis.com for access. Whether you are a complete beginner, consider yourself an advanced user or anywhere in between, Microsoft Excel is a tool to be mastered. Decide to make the most out of this powerful software to work smarter, faster and better.

If you are looking to improve your Excel skills and maximize its use, join me at my upcoming Excel Made Easy workshop on Thursday, October 26 beginning at 9 am. This course is an investment in your personal and business productivity and you’ll find yourself using your new-found knowledge for all kinds of projects. For more information or to register contact me at keshelle@keshelledavis.com

• Listed in The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40, Keshelle Davis helps companies and individuals improve their productivity and performance. She is the CEO of The Training Authority, an entrepreneur and internationally recognized speaker and author. Formerly she served as executive director of the Chamber Institute – the education arm of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) and has impacted thousands through her mission is to educate, empower and inspire. Contact Keshelle at keshelle@keshelledavis.com.

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