Excel was released in 1985 and has grown to become arguably the most important computer program in workplaces around the world. Whether you are budgeting, organising client sales lists, or need to plan an office social gathering, Excel is a powerful tool that has become entrenched in business processes worldwide.
Sure, there are many, highly efficient, specialised business software programs available.
Their weakness being just that, they are specialised, suitable, mainly for only one task.Little, if any such software, delivers to business all or exactly what a business needs to measure the business performance in a client centric way.
In the late 1990s it was revealed, by survey, that businesses use on average eleven different software tools. It is more than likely that the number has increased since then.
Purchase and maintenance costs aside, extracting and transferring data between tools, more often by manual extraction, is unnecessarily time consuming, error prone and expensive.
Excel is an incredibly versatile tool, equipped with powerful programming ability to communicate with many other software tools, automatically re-manipulate the extracted data and parse the results to strategy enabling reports and visuals.
Most users know that Excel can add, subtract, multiply and divide, but it can do much more. With highly advanced inbuilt functions and formulas which, when coupled with the also inbuilt programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), any analysis is possible.
Your probably already have Excel installed on your systems. Why not make it pay? Be it for:
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 took weeks to complete in the 1980s into something that takes only a few minutes today.
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 sales force and plan future marketing plans based on past results.
Using a pivot table, users can quickly and easily summarise customer and sales data by category with a quick drag-and-drop. All parts of business can benefit from strong Excel knowledge, and marketing functions are not exempt.
Human Resources Planning
While database systems like Oracle 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 an Excel Program.
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 summarise customer revenue and costs by product to find areas where stronger customer relationships can be developed.
This is a very short list to give you an idea of the diverse uses for Excel.
The Bottom Line
Excel is not going anywhere and businesses will continue to use Excel as a primary tool for diverse functions and applications ranging from IT projects to company picnics and building relatively inexpensive proofs of concept.
Even if in-house advanced Excel working knowledge is lacking, outsourcing by contract can equally add value to the business