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What Is Excel Used for in the Workplace?

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Excel is a common piece of business software, yet some people may be unaware of the many ways it can be used in the workplace. Excel is a powerful tool with over 500 different functions that support a large and diverse range of activities. However, the number of extensive features can also make it hugely intimidating. Despite its effectiveness that has been proven over the last thirty years since it was introduced, many people still look to other, newer software packages mistakenly believing that just because something is new, it must be better.

The importance of MS Excel can not be underestimated. It is as pertinent and relevant to companies now as it was when it was first created.

Excel Explained

Excel is part of a suite of programs that form Microsoft Office. It is a spreadsheet program that can be used for data analysis, as well as recording and storing data within one worksheet, or across multiple worksheets in a workbook. Its most critical and useful feature is its ability to sort, organize and analyze data in a variety of ways. From that analysis, a business can make better decisions that help it grow and become more profitable.

Common Ways Excel Is Used in the Workplace

Excel is widely used as a business analytics tool. Performed on a regular basis, business analytics is crucial to identifying trends by bringing data together in one space. 

However, Excel not only makes analyzing data easy, it has simple-to-use formatting tools and can create visuals in the forms of charts and graphs that make understanding analytics much easier. It can expedite performance reporting, as well as highlight how a company is operating. In fact, managing operations through an Excel spreadsheet is a common use of Excel in the workplace. 

Excel can also be a fantastic project management tool. A team of project managers can work from the same spreadsheet, updating the status of various components of a project. The finances of a project can be tracked in the same spreadsheet as well, which can be incredibly useful in the final stages of a project or a project debrief. 

Finally, some companies choose to utilize MS Excel as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or to support account management. While there are many new software packages that claim to provide these services, Excel is simple to use and the data can be manipulated to help determine future strategic goals, along with how CRM can be improved.

The Importance of MS Excel

MS Excel is as important today as it was when it was created thirty years ago. One of the main reasons being that reliable data is more crucial than ever for companies to run effectively. With more people spending a great deal of their lives online, extensive data about their behaviors can be derived and categorized. This can range from the basics such as names and addresses, to likes and dislikes, how we spend our time on the internet, and other aspects of our lives that companies want to know more about, so they can better target their products and services to the appropriate audiences.

Having that information is all well and good. But being able to read it, manipulate it, and then interpret it is even better for making informed decisions and determining the best way forward. That is why having a powerful tool like MS Excel on hand is so important. 

While excel may be a vast, overwhelming piece of software, that is also part of its power. Data can be easily manipulated and analyzed, making Excel highly adaptable to a company’s needs. 

It is also vital not to overlook the fact that Excel is so widely used. People sometimes seek newer ways of working, believing that those ways will be better. But that is often not the case. Since Excel is widely used, new employees are likely to have worked with the program before, so there won’t be a learning curve. Companies can use data stored in Excel for a whole host of other applications and software packages. As a result, data can be leveraged quickly for new purposes because it doesn’t need to be reformatted before another software package accesses it. 

How to Improve Productivity in the Workplace Using Excel

Excel is an incredibly powerful tool, yet the full extent of its power to improve productivity in the workplace is rarely unlocked.

Making use of excel experts for hire that can provide onsite training is a surefire way to generate returns on the investment. Expert advice can go a long way to ensuring that employees are as informed as possible about how best to use Excel in their jobs.

As part of the training, make sure employees not only know the basics of Excel back-to-front and that they know how to utilize the most valuable features the package has to offer. Depending on the industry and function of the team using Excel,  employees could also benefit from knowing about how to program a macro, use Index Match or VLookup to streamline data analysis, and understand how pivot tables can quickly return key facts from large amounts of data held within a spreadsheet. 

The wide range of possible uses of MS Excel is one of its main advantages. Educating employees is perhaps one of the most essential ways to help improve productivity in a person, a team and the company as a whole. 

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