5 Top tips when engaging with a spreadsheet specialist

Here are some tips if you ever find yourself talking to me (or another spreadsheet professional) about getting custom spreadsheets made:

 

Tell us what you want to achieve, rather than what you want the spreadsheet to do.

 

Don’t limit us to your Excel capabilities. The reason you’re asking us is because you want something that can improve on your current spreadsheets. Tell us your ultimate goal, the whole wish list, and let’s see what we can do for you.

 

Be specific.

 

“I want a report please”, leaves us to decide what is best for you. “I would like to see X, and it is calculated like this..” means that you get what you want. Don’t worry, we will advise of other things you might be missing, even if you don’t ask for it, we’re largely an opinionated bunch (I know I am). If you’re not sure what you want, we’re here to help, but make sure we’re clear on what you do want.

 

Ask for advice.

 

The first two points are key, but there needs to be a balance of hearing what we think. We make these spreadsheets day in and day out; we might not have your industry knowledge, but we can bring some valuable suggestions to the table. However, you ultimately need to be happy with the spreadsheet.

 

Mention the before and after in the process.

 

What happens in your process leading up to using the spreadsheet, and what happens afterwards. These can be hugely important when designing the spreadsheet, and it is very useful to know. For example, I deal differently with manually entered data, as I would with data being imported from a CSV. Also, the end result needs to work with the process going forward.

 

Be open to taking advice.

 

I’ve been making spreadsheets as a business for over 11 years. I’ve made a few in my time. I know what is problematic, I know what will work, I know how far to push Excel, and I know what will break it. I will endeavour to understand what you require, and then I’ll propose making it in the most efficient way possible. So, if that is slightly different to what you had in mind, but it achieves the end goal, then be open to that. By all means ask why I want to do the spreadsheet a certain way, I’ll be happy to explain. Just know that I want the best results for you, hence the advice.

I think that is it. If you need a better custom spreadsheet then contact me or book a meeting directly using the button below.

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