How Your Business Can Benefit from Excel

When I tell people that Microsoft Excel can help their business, they often make a comment like, “Oh, you mean for accounts?” My answer is usually something about the fact that I very seldom use it for accounts. Excel, in the right hands, is an extremely versatile program and can be used for applications that people don’t expect. There is another article which I wrote which shows 10 things that most people don’t know Excel could do.

Most businesses have an administrative process or logical job progression which they follow. This means that there is a structure to the way they do things. Maybe you quote first, then issue an invoice, then order some goods, then manufacture, then deliver and issue final invoice. This routine will be repeated for all of your jobs. This then becomes your administration process or job progression template, so to speak. Often, certain sections of this process become quite tedious and can sometimes take more time than what they are worth. Unfortunately these tasks have to be done in order to complete the job. This also means that you end up spending time on the administrative process when you’d rather be doing the very thing that the business offers. That is, after all, why you started the business in the first place!

I see so many people (on Facebook and Twitter) screaming at Excel because it just won’t do what they want it to do! I, on the other hand, love it… Excel for me is fun and exciting. Trying to get it to do what I want is an exciting challenge, I love it. Anyway, Excel in the right hands can accomplish all of these administrative tasks with ease. If you need a complete project management system, with various tabs for each stage (i.e. job details, quote, costing, invoices, delivery note, programme, etc.) this can be done! This means that every time you enter information, it shares that data with all of the relevant sections, so once you have entered the client’s name for argument’s sake, you don’t need to enter it again anywhere else! This means that Excel will cut your workload down, as various tasks can be achieved automatically. If you have a payment structure laid out on your quote, that can be transferred to your invoice, which means that all of the information will already be filled in at the time of sending your invoice! This is relevant to all areas, prices, costings, due dates, stock, purchases and staff work times – the list is endless! And, if done properly, all of this can be integrated together to simplify the process and reduce work load. Another advantage of this is that you also can send information from all of your job cards to one central location, which means that you can see all due dates, for example, of all the jobs on one page! This is extremely useful for all businesses.

Custom-made business software is very expensive. If you want a computer software company to come in and write you a bespoke program, it may take a while and it will be very expensive. Excel already has the base laid down, which means that someone can create something in Excel much quicker and with less people (software developers often work in teams). This means that although Excel may not be able to do everything that software developers can, it will be a fraction of the price. Excel has its limits, and the spreadsheet creator will have their limits in Excel, but there is always a way to achieve what you need (or close to it) and this can be done at a very affordable price! Excel may be tricky to ‘program’ to do what you want it to do, but once that is done, using it is like using any other software, even to the extent of selecting from the drop down list. It can also be locked so that people can’t destroy your expertly created formulas by mistake!

We wish you all the best for your business!

Richard Sumner

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