• Jamie Skinner

The Power of Excel

As an accountant I absolutely love using Excel. I use it for a multitude of items and it helps me cut down time required to complete a task. Here, I will briefly describe some of its functionality I find most useful.


Automation


Many Excel users actually underutilize the functionality of Excel. They may have taken the first step in creating a template for a recurring task, but it could still be a very manual task in general. There are a lot of functional formulas that can remove redundancy of data entry and calculations. Without a doubt, I can say that my favorite and most used function is =SUMIF. It easily adds numerous line items that have a specific cell value. For instance, in this screen shot, my SUMIF formula is adding the amounts in Column C whenever there is an “A” in Column B. I can do the same formula to add up all the B’s, C’s, and D’s. There is no need to do any sorting or individual summations. Excel does work for you!


Documentation


If you use Excel as your source document for an office or accounting task, it is easy to have the Excel file contain ALL related documentation. Let’s say you use an Excel template for each bank deposit you record in your accounting system. A critical element to keep record of is the actual deposit slip that goes to the bank. You can easily embed a picture or PDF into the template that shows the deposit slip. From the top ribbon bar you go to the Insert tab, click on “Object,” click “Browse” and choose the file to embed. There are three embedding options: click “OK” for the object to show the full first-page; click “link to file” to show as a hyperlink; or click “Display as Icon”.


Integration into Other Software


Often times, Excel templates can be used for direct uploading into other software, such as an accounting system. This can be valuable when data input in the other software is manual and redundant. If you’re able to do the data entry in Excel, you can use copy/paste and formulas to speed up the task, then import into the other software.


You can find some basic templates on the Microsoft website, such as calendars, budgets, and to-do lists. Beyond templates, there is a plethora of functionality within Excel. If you are wondering if Excel is capable of doing this or doing that, it’s likely that it can. Exploring what I hoped Excel was capable of doing is how I became so proficient in it. Take some time to play around with different functions and items in the top Ribbon Bar. If you’re curious about something specific, please leave a comment below and I will answer it in one of my next blog posts.

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