This is incredibly geeky, but there is something about large amounts of data, in a neatly organized table, that I find somewhat exciting . I suppose it has something to do with an affinity for organization combined with a love of numbers. As an accountant and financial consultant, I am constantly faced with the task of organizing and analysing data. And although good accounting software is absolutely necessary for any small business owner, almost all of my financial reporting and analysis is done using excel.
Excel, for my purposes, is somewhat magical. (Just to be clear, I have no connection to Microsoft. I will eventually write a post on how much I despise Word). I actually like manipulating data in excel, just so that I can discover new features and find more efficient ways of doing thngs. This, of course, often ends up taking twice as long as if I had just done it using the more manual, tried and tested methods. What, continues to impress me, however, is that there is an easier way to do almost everything in excel (involving data – unfortunately it will not cook you dinner). And this does not even include macros.
If you are planning to updgrade to excel 2007 or 2010, keep in mind that the interface is quite different. This takes a while to get used to, and can be quite frustrating in the beginning. However once you have become familiar with the new structure, excel 2007/10 is vastly superior to 2003.
Excel is especially helpful for small business owners and employees who do not have customized financial reporting or accounting software but are interested in disseminating their data. Below are some ways in which excel can add value: