If you’re looking for a way to streamline your business, then using Excel is up there as one of the best options. It’s a powerful tool, and most of us have probably used Excel in business before as employees or business owners.
One of the main reasons to use Excel for business tasks is because it saves time and money, thanks to the numerous options for storing and analysing data along with features that allow you to automate Excel to do repetitive daily tasks.
This blog post will cover a few essential uses for Excel in business while giving you an overview of why this software is so important and useful.
The Importance Of Excel In Business
Released in the early 1980s, Excel’s first version enabled users to step away from manual programming of macros and move towards automated Excel processes. The application has developed vastly since then to support graphs, charts, and histograms that can either be embedded in the spreadsheets or added as a stand-alone article.
Microsoft Excel’s feature-rich design means it’s used for a variety of purposes worldwide. Millions of companies use the software every day so the importance of Excel in business is not to be understated.
The reason for MS Excel’s growth in popularity is its user-friendly simple to use interface; this interface enables users to take control and perform tasks quickly and efficiently. Many employers now require candidates to have Excel skills, and skills in the wider offer suite so listing Excel skills on your CV is a must if you’re job seeking!
What Is Excel Used For In Business?
MS Excel is used for a range of purposes in a business including accounting, stock management, sales reporting, product information management and automation. So, if you’re wondering why Excel is so important, it can power a whole business!
The multiple uses of Excel in business make it one of the main reasons businesses use Excel every day. We wanted to explore this further and came up with 7 of the most common examples we come across that demonstrate the use of Excel in business.
1. Using Excel For Managing Product Information
If you’re running an eCommerce business, you know how important maintaining accurate and up to date product information is in generating online sales, reducing returns and winning repeat business.
One of the main barriers that can prevent complete and accurate product information is the platform on which your website is built. WordPress, Magento and many more aren’t optimised to manage large amounts of data in the backend easily. This is where Excel comes in.
Almost all websites will give you the option to export and import data in CSV and XLSX format. Once you’ve exported your data and put it into Excel, you have complete control over your data.
Using a range of Excel features you can drill into your data and optimise your product information to fuel eCommerce growth. Once you’ve made your changes, simply import the sheet into your website back end and watch your sales fly.
Need help setting up a product information management spreadsheet? Contact The Excel Experts today!
2. Sales Reporting In Excel
Take a cross-section of businesses in the UK, and you’ll find some using complex and costly software to report on sales, while some will still be using pen and paper!
You’ll find most businesses using a spreadsheet for sales reporting between these two extremes, thanks to its easy to use format and automation capabilities.
Excel, in particular, is one of the best tools you can use to track and report on sales for your business.
With its capability for dashboard creation, automated reports, and integration into other business systems, Excel sales reports bring all your critical sales insights into one easy-to-use sheet that can be read by anyone and shared across the business to communicate and track performance.
3. Stock & Inventory Management Using a Spreadsheet
Because of its versatility and ability to hold thousands of data cells, using Excel for supply chain management & stock management is a great alternative to bespoke and expensive software.
SKU, barcode, stock levels, re-order levels, location, and bin number are just some of the columns you can add to your spreadsheet to maintain an accurate and up-to-date view of your inventory and stock levels.
Stock management spreadsheets can be as simple or complicated as they need to be for your business. One fantastic example of expanding on a simple sheet is the integration of barcode scanning into your document.
Connecting your spreadsheet to a barcode scanner will help you to process your goods quickly, track the delivery and purchase notes and pinpoint orders as they move through your business.
As we mentioned before, Excel can be integrated with many systems and even used as middleware to bridge the gap between systems. If you’re a larger business or have thousands of product lines and are using a SaaS or bespoke software system, Excel is still valuable.
For more information about using Excel for stock and supply chain management, get in touch.
4. Automate Business Tasks With Excel
Potentially one of the least known but most valuable features of Excel in business is automating repetitive business tasks. Reducing tasks to lines of code, companies can use Excel Automation to save time, increase productivity and ultimately increase profits.
Excel automation usually needs to be set up by specialists who know VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). However, the benefits your business will gain from automating tasks will far outweigh the costs of putting automation in place.
If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of automating some of the tasks in your business using Excel, contact one of our VBA and automation specialists today.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know, what’s possible, and the potential savings your business could see.
5. Build Excel Dashboards
Dashboards provide a snapshot of your current business performance so you can make data-driven decisions about the future of your business.
Excel dashboards are one of the most essential tools a company can use to visualise figures, turning lines of data into easy to read and shareable graphs and charts.
The range of dashboards you can create in Excel is enormous.
Once you’ve decided which type of dashboard you want to create, you need to make a few considerations to ensure your dashboard displays the data you wish to and is pulling data regularly (which can be done with Excel automation). The key things to think about are:
- How will we import data into the dashboard, and how often?
- How will the data in the dashboard be managed and linked to elements like charts and graphs?
- What’s the best layout and format for your dashboard, and which metrics are most important and need to be front and centre.
In addition to MS Excel, you can use Power BI for business-related data visualisation and reporting. It’s the leading tool for data visualisation and we highly recommend checking out the capabilities if Excel isn’t quite delivering what you need.
6. Use Excel For Accounting
According to an article on Accounting Today, 90 per cent of companies use Excel for budgeting, planning and forecasting operations. Excel is the go-to solution for businesses when it comes to accounting software.
One of the reasons for this the sheer number of formulas and calculations that can be used and automated in Excel for businesses using Excel for accounting.
VLOOKUP, Nesting IF Functions and Conditional IF Formulas are just three of the most valuable formulas companies use to manage and keep track of their accounts.
Additionally, because Excel is so widely used by a range of business types from eCommerce through to accountants, you can be confident that if you’re using Excel for accounting in your business, you won’t have any problems sharing a purchase ledger or invoice tracking sheet with your accountant, in a suitable format.
7. Invoice Creation & Tracking In Excel
Errors when processing orders can have a severe impact on a business, from losing a sale to going bankrupt. That means keeping track of orders is essential, and ensuring you have all the relevant information regarding the order in the same place, such as value and customer details, is a must-have.
Not only is invoice and order tracking in Excel vital for keeping your customers happy this type of report can easily be integrated into other sheets and even dashboards to give you a complete view of your business from the point of sale through to dispatch, delivery and customer service metrics like returns and complaints.
Three of the most common requests that we receive regarding setting up or updating existing invoice and order tracking spreadsheets include:
- Scanning incoming jobs reduce errors and save staff time when it comes to doing repetitive tasks.
- Setting up forms within the sheet so new orders are inputted correctly with all required information.
- Tieing in an invoice tracking sheet with stock management and sales reports to close the loop and consolidate critical business information
Why Excel Is So Important In Business
Using Excel in business is one of the best ways to streamline your processes, organise your data and improve business performance in sales and productivity.
From tracking inventory to automating repetitive tasks, we’ve covered a range of spreadsheet uses in business in this post that you can put in place today to improve the use of Excel in your business.
If you need any help using Excel or would like to discuss an idea with an Excel Expert contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.