Excel spreadsheets

Why spreadsheets are vital to a life in finance

If you are looking to get started in a career in finance then one of the most important things that you can learn is how to use Excel effectively. Excel is a tool that is used in nearly every sector of the finance industry, and once you have a good working knowledge of it then you will be able to apply this knowledge in a number of situations. There are many different functions that Excel can perform that make it an invaluable tool for many finance professionals.

Reporting and presentation tools

Excel can be used to produce reports on a variety of different aspects of your company. These reports can be used to share information with other employees or any managers of the business. If you want to turn the information that you will be sharing into a presentation, then Excel is also a very useful tool for producing graphs and charts that can clearly show the figures that you want to present. It can make it easier for other employees that do not have such an in depth knowledge of Excel to see the point that you are trying to make.

Financial analysis

Excel allows you to analyse large quantities of data easily and quickly. You can use Excel to select specific pieces of data that you are interested in and perform an analysis of this information. This is a much more efficient process that analysing the data manually, especially if the data you are using is already entered in a spreadsheet anyway. Excel also allows you to make comparisons between different sets of data which can be useful for comparing sales figures from different quarters for example.

Decision making

Once you have used Excel to analyse data, then this analysis can then be used to inform any decisions that need to be made about the business. The information that you need to make these decisions can be seen immediately and will be presented in a format that makes the information easy to digest. If the decision maker is not versed in Excel then you will be able to talk them through how any calculations have been made and what this means for the business in real terms.

Basic calculations

With all the complicated formulas that Excel is capable of producing, it can be easy to overlook the more basic functions that it can be used for. However, there may be times when you have a lot of figures in a spreadsheet that you just need to find the total of, or work out what the average is. Knowing how to carry out these functions can be just as useful as knowing how to do more complicated calculations. Even basic calculations can be time consuming when using a calculator, and if the figures are being taken from the spreadsheet then there is the possibility for error which would not occur if the calculations were done directly in Excel.

It can take many years to completely master all the different functions that Excel can carry out, but it is worth this effort as having a good working knowledge of the software can really help to further your career. Whatever direction your career in finance takes you, it is almost certain that you will be using Excel on an almost daily basis. The sooner you can take an Excel Training Course that will teach you the basics of Excel, and how to expand on these basics, the better it will be for your career.

Photograph by Ian Dick

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