When Microsoft Excel was first introduced in 1985, it revolutionized the way we worked. The way it eased the burden of keeping track of records, calculations, and other such forms of data, enabled professionals to work faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Although other spreadsheet programs have been introduced in the market since the launch of Microsoft Office, Excel is still the go-to choice for most people. Even so, people often underestimate just how complex and useful Excel can be and only scratch the surface of its abilities. That’s why it’s important to formally learn how to use Excel to its full potential. Here are some reasons why you should include it in your skill set:
1. Career must-have
Knowledge of Excel is an essential skill in several professions; you won’t get a job in these fields unless you have some formal training in Excel or know how to operate the program well. Almost every employed professional or business owner uses Excel, even if they limit themselves to the most basic functions. If you perform tasks that require managing money or data, you probably use Excel often. Here are some careers that require thorough knowledge of Excel:
- Marking and Marketing Analytics
- Investment Banking and Analysis
- Business Intelligence Analysis
- Management Consultation
2. Organisational tool
If you want to be productive and get things done on schedule, you need to stay organized – and Excel is brilliant for that. Self-employed professionals, office workers, business owners and so on can use Excel to manage their projects, meetings, day-to-day schedule, deadlines, and other such information. There’s no need for a special calendar app or different schedule; the Excel program will handle everything for you and ensure all your data is organized. You can also manage schedules of multiple projects in the same document by adding sheets to the program. For example, you can create one document with the schedule for the month of April and include all your April projects in one sheet.
3. Finances and accounting
If you’re an entrepreneur or a working professional, keeping track of your business or work-related finances – expenses, invoices, incoming payments, bills, taxes etc – is an absolute must. Excel is the easiest and most efficient tool to use for all of these purposes. You can keep all the information in one location so it’s easily accessible. You can calculate all expenses, look at patterns, determine trends, and get averages for predicting future income or expenses.
Excel has evolved over time to include a number of options to help people analyze all data. All these information and financial analysis tools can help you make business or professional decisions. You can also predict what your financial situation will be in the upcoming months so you can plan loans, expenditures, investments, and other such big financial decisions accordingly.
4. Human Resource planning
If you own a business and employ people, you’ll need a way of keeping track of their salaries, vacation times, absences and performance information. If you don’t keep track of this information, you won’t know if your employees are performing well enough to justify the amount you pour into them.
The Excel program is the perfect tool for managing all employee information and ensuring they’re paid their salaries on time. You can keep an eye on their performance and make sure they’re consistent and notice any changes in pattern quickly, meaning you can manage them more effectively.
Excel isn’t just useful for your professional life, but also your personal and social life. As mentioned before, it’s a great way to keep track of different tasks and pools of data. You can use it to:
- Balance your monthly budget at home. You can keep track of expenses and savings.
- Keep track of groceries, supplies, and medications.
- Keep track of your calories and workout routines.
- Organize information about your home projects and renovations.
- Organize information regarding parties, events, and functions.
6. Charting data
All the information stored in Excel can be translated into graphs, pie charts, and other such visual representations of data. You don’t have to sit and calculate all of the averages and manually create the charts, you can just select the pieces of data you need to include in the chart and assign values, and Excel will handle the rest. If you’re running low on inspiration, here’s a great tutorial on turning Excel charts into beautiful graphics.
Excel is a very versatile program and you don’t need to spend too much time and effort in learning it. Once you add this skill to your resume, you’ll be a more appealing candidate to prospective employers and have an easier time getting tasks done. Excel is a great tool to master, regardless of the type of career and profession you have.
Guest article written by: Jordan James is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Activia Training, a UK-based training provider specialising in improving delegates’ workplace performance in business skills, management development and IT applications. Jordan is passionate about social media and customer service issues, and regularly blogs about these – and many other – topics on the Activia blog.