Ashley Andrews, Negosentro | Used by millions of businesses and individuals round the world, Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular and successful pieces of software around – for good reason. It’s incredibly useful! You can use it for everything from organising your day-to-day life to making extremely complex calculations. If you work with Big Data, it’s also a must-have.
Despite this, many business professionals disregard just how influential and ubiquitous Excel is. They don’t take the time to learn the more sophisticated features of the platform, despite the fact that this could have a hugely positive impact on their productivity and the quality of their work.
Here are some ways Excel will boost your career:
- It’s essential to many professions
Excel is so ubiquitous that certain professions are dependent on it – you wouldn’t even get an interview for an accountancy job unless you know how to use it! If you’re so familiar with the platform that you can use even its most advanced features with ease, so much the better. Excel is absolutely vital for the following career paths:
- Investment banking analyst
- Management consultant
- Business intelligence analyst
- It’s used EVERYWHERE!
The above-mentioned fields aren’t the only ones that utilise Excel. From entry-level admin positions to high-flying executives, it’s used across the board. Almost every business or professional establishment you come across will use Excel one way or another. Businesses continue to favour Excel over other spreadsheet programmes, especially now that Microsoft has introduced cloud computing and storage. This allows users to store files in cloud and share documents with other people, and increased accessibility has made Excel even more popular.
- It’s not just a spreadsheet
Excel is so much more than just a spreadsheet! Once you get stuck into using its advanced features, it’s more of a problem-solving platform than anything else. Most people don’t explore its full potential and only use it to create lists and for simple calculations. With the right formulas and tools, you can achieve almost anything and even automate a number of tasks. This is especially important if you’re dealing with big data and large amounts of information. Here are some of the most important features to keep in mind:
- Pivot tables – This one of the most important and useful tools in Excel and many consider it to be its most powerful feature. The pivot table extracts important and relevant information from a large data set and presents it in an organised manner. This means you don’t need to manually comb through the data set to find the needed information.
- Conditional formatting – Conditional formatting allows you to highlight and sort out data to ensure it captures attention and stands out in the collection of numbers and words. This can make it easier to read and understand the data presented in the spreadsheet.
- Excel tables – Excel is made up of rows and columns so tables can be manually created without using the table feature in the spreadsheet. However, using Excel tables can prove to be quite beneficial.
You can create a custom table for specific requirements, use formulas and automatically replicate these every time any new information is entered into the table. For example, if you’ve created a detailed table where you need the sum of two columns of data, every new number added to it will be summed automatically.
- Excel functions – Excel provides a number of useful functions that can help you get work done faster and become more productive. These functions include VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, etc. Understanding all the functions in Excel and learning how to use them well, can save you a lot of time and effort.
These are just a few of the many features that make Excel more than just a spreadsheet. Learning more about excel will help you use this platform more effectively in your work.
- Managing finances
Excel is widely used in the financial industry and for good reason. It is an effective tool to keep track of income, expenses, profits, and other such factors. This spreadsheet can keep all of your financial data organised and ensure you’re always aware of any discrepancies. For example, if the data is set on a spreadsheet and there is a downtrend in profits, it will be immediately noticed, and you can take steps to determine the cause and take steps to fix the problem. If the data isn’t recorded properly and easy to read, you will miss these important pieces of information which can have a negative impact on your projects.
- Scheduling and organisation
Excel doesn’t just help in your job but also helps keep your professional life in order. There are a number of ways to incorporate this platform into your daily tasks and requirements such as:
- Planning the monthly, weekly, and annual schedule so you know how much work there is and where different projects can be fitted in.
- Creating schedules and to-do lists to ensure that no important dates, meetings, or events are missed.
- Keeping track of individual projects to ensure they’re progressing as per schedule and that your goals are met.
These are just some of the numerous ways in which Excel can be incorporated into your professional life ensuring it is organised and in control. That can help you keep up with your commitments and will significantly lessen various work-related stresses. Excel can also help in sorting personal data, and the platform can be useful in your life outside of work as well.
As we’ve now unpacked, learning how to use Excel well can have a very positive impact on your productivity as well as your career prospects. If you’re interested in getting some Microsoft Excel training, why not try this great taster course – it’s free and a good introduction. Now get out there and start making Excel work for you!
Ashley Andrews is an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Activia Training, a UK-based training provider specialising in improving delegates’ workplace performance in business skills, management development and IT applications. Ashley is passionate about sales and management issues, and regularly blogs about these – and many other topics – on the Activia blog.