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It’s likely that you’re already familiar with Microsoft Excel, whether you dip in and out of it every now and again to keep yourself organised or you’re a seasoned expert when it comes to formulas and pivot tables.
But as we use more and more tech tools every day, especially now that many of us are working from home, the merits of this spreadsheet programme might be easily overlooked.
Excel has been around since 1985 and it continues to prove useful for a variety of tasks today. With so many modern tools boasting at least some degree of automation to lessen the user’s workload, Excel is no different – you just have to become familiar with the commands.
To help,luminablo.co.uk has created a list of the 5 most common business uses of MS Excel.
The number 1 use of MS Excel in the workplace is to do business analysis.
Business analysis is essentially using collected data to inform decision making. Businesses naturally gather data in their day-to-day activities, which may be data on product sales, website traffic, spending on supplies, insurance claims, etc.
Business analysis is the activity of converting data into something useful to the people who run the business. For example, you could run a financial report by the day of the week. If the business needs more funds to carry out major operations or buy equipment, then that’s information management could use to ask for short term loans.
While it’s possible to do some of the calculations required for an Excel spreadsheet in your head, on paper or with a calculator, you won’t need to take that possible risk of entry error. Excel relieves you of the need to perform calculations with a couple of included features. Located on the “Home” tab’s “AutoSum” button are instantly clickable ways to add addition, averaging, division and subtraction to your spreadsheets.
For example, if you’re totaling up payroll expenses for your 20-person staff, highlight the salary cells and click the “AutoSum” button to instantly see the total spent. Any time you click in to change a payroll number, the AutoSum feature automatically updates.
Although your business will have to take care of the actual printing, Excel can turn your small business into a small printing press without having to enlist graphic designers, desktop publishers or layout personnel. Found on Excel’s “File” tab’s “New” option is a large collection of templates.
Use these templates to create materials without having to start from scratch, saving you setup time on forms such as receipts, invoices, labels and timesheets, as well as more creative items such as cards, booklets, presentations and fliers. All of Excel’s templates are completely customizable, which means your business can benefit from all of the setup but still leave personal stamps such as inserting a logo or changing the colors and fonts on the materials.
You may be surprised to learn that one of the top uses of Excel in business is to manage people.
MS Excel is a powerful way to organise information about people, whether they are employees, customers, supporters, or training attendees.
Using Excel, personal information can be stored and retrieved efficiently. A spreadsheet row or column can be used for an individual record that may include information like name, email address, employee start date, items purchased, subscription status, and last contact.
Excel is relied on heavily to manage the day-to-day operations of many businesses.
Business activities can often involve quite complicated logistics. Inventory flows need to be controlled so that you can keep operations running smoothly – and without overstocking on particular items. That means keeping track of supplier and client transactions, listing critical dates, and managing times and schedules.
While Amazon uses sophisticated custom software for operations management, MS Excel is an important tool for many smaller businesses. An advantage of Excel is that it’s relatively low tech, allowing it to be used by many people and without the risk of programming bugs.