Originally released in 1985, Microsoft Excel has become the most-used spreadsheet program in the world. Excel can perform formula-based calculations and many other mathematical functions. The program also serves as a programming platform for Visual Basic for Applications. Because of its utility, Excel has become a staple in many enterprises.
Accounting and Finance
Excel is often used in accounting and finance because of its ability to automate calculations and its support for complex formulas. Excel spreadsheets can calculate the accrual of compound interest and net income after adjusting the gross for expenses, for example. Once formulas have been entered in a table, you simply plug in numbers where necessary and Excel does the rest, populating cells with the results of the calculations. This makes Excel an indispensable tool for business accounting.
Even non-financial businesses employ Excel spreadsheets. The ability to organize data in Excel tables and set up tools for updating, organizing, and displaying the data makes the program popular for administrative purposes. Comprehensive, easy-to-reference Excel tables allow administrators to check a single statistic in a process, such as service fault issues in a product, against a report of trends for the same service faults. Through these comparisons, issues can be identified and solutions developed.
Excel supports Microsoft's Visual Basic for Applications programming language for creating macros that increase efficiency and ease of use by automating or simplifying complex functions. People who are proficient at creating Excel macros are much in demand at organizations of all types.
Excel also produces a variety of charts and graphs for representing income statements and other statistical data visually. You save time by making the charts in the spreadsheet where the data resides. Visual presentation of the data drives home your points more effectively than columns of numbers. Being able to graph within Excel also frees up some capital that otherwise would have to be invested in another graphing program.
Basic proficiency in Excel is becoming mandatory in some organizations. The person who has a greater level of competence with Excel often has an advantage when competing for an open position.
- Simon Benninga: Principles of Finance with Excel, Chapter 3
- PCWorld: Who knew Excel Could Do That? Ten Top Tips
- NC State University: Basic Graphing in Excel
- Microsoft Office Dev Center: Getting Started with VBA in Excel 2010
- Catapult ERP: Teach A Man (Or Woman) To Excel – The Importance of Excel Skills in ERP