Knowing every single function and formula in Excel does not make one an expert user of Excel. As observed so often, many Excel users who claim knowing everything about Excel are still spending a lot of time on their spreadsheets. And most unfortunately, they do not even know that the time spent on their Excel tasks can actually be significantly cut. If you want to really master Excel and save time on your Excel spreadsheets, you need to possess the following four critical skills in Excel.
- Data Processing
- Data Consolidation
Learning how to process the data is a critical skill all managers and executives must have. Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System takes about at least two years. By the time it goes live, the business environment would have changed. The data from the ERP system would have helped but needs additional processing by the manager or executive. Without knowing how to process the data efficiently, your manager or executive would have to spend hours manually changing the formula to get the desired result, wasting valuable time and resources in the process.
Consider the following example where your manager or executive has to extract part of the description from column B. Without the skill to process the data, your manager or executive would have to spend hours manually changing the formula down the row to extract the industry class description of varying length.
But if he has acquired the skills to process the data, he will only need to copy the formula down and get the results in seconds.
In an ideal business environment, companies should be using only one ERP systems across all business functions. Unfortunately, this has never been the case. Each business function would buy a system that is best suited for them. As a result, managers and executives have to consolidate from multiple data sources (ERP systems). Microsoft® Excel, being a versatile tool, is usually employed for the consolidation. However, without the skill to consolidate the data, managers and executives have to resort to copying and pasting data from one spreadsheet to another for thousands of rows of data. Unless he is properly trained in data consolidation, he will not be able to do the consolidation speedily and accurately.
With the advancement in technologies, more and more data are being captured and made available for decision making. As a result, managers and executives are working with more rows than before. If the manager or executive is not skilful in summarising data with Excel, he would have to spend hours running through the rows of data manually to tabulate the numbers for reporting. Learning the secret to summarising data with Excel would save those precious extra hours and generate highly accurate report for submission.
In today’s constant changing business environment, managers and executives are expected to offer new insights to the business regularly. Existing reports are unlikely to help managers and executives identify the new trends as soon they appear. Knowing the formulas and functions in Excel is not enough to accomplish the job. Managers and executives must know the how to analysis the data to help them identify the patterns and the trends. This can only be achieved if they possess the last critical Excel skills – Data Analysis.