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The importance of mastering Excel even for SMEs

/ 04:02 AM March 16, 2020

While many would agree that Excel software is indispensable for large corporations with teams of finance staff, those who own smaller businesses might wonder if alternative methods or software might be more suitable for them. We asked Ray Fremista, our resource person on operational excellence, for his insights on how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could benefit from learning and mastering Excel.

For SMEs and their emplo­yees, learning and mastering Excel delivers various process efficiency gains. If the emplo­yees could perform tasks faster in Excel, then the decisions that the organization will make will be quicker, catering to the requirements of the company, its employees and customers. Note that Excel is not only used in the Accounting and Finance departments, it could also be used in almost all departments or functional areas of the organization.

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Some examples are: 1. The database management specialist who controls and compiles the organization’s data needs; 2. The customer service team leader or manager who mana­ges a team’s performance; 3. The marketing specialist who plans for promotional campaigns; 4. The channel management officer who creates strategies on which channel the company needs to strengthen; 5. The social media manager who creates plans on how to engage customers within the social media space; and 6. The IT specialist who tracks outliers, troubleshoots problems, etc. And if the above mentioned functions are monitored by just one or two manager/owners as might be typical in an SME, then the time and effort savings of using Excel would be significant. With less time spent on such functions, then one’s focus could instead be on capability development, and/or more face time with other members of the team.

Drive higher employee satisfaction

There are studies that indicate that “those in more skilled roles tend to be happier (71 percent) and more interested (77 percent) in their work.”

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One of the sources of stress of a lot of employees in the workplace is a tight deadline. Employees can battle this stress by freeing up more time. If you master Excel, you can free up more time so that you can also perform other critical functions.

Organize information and records

There are tons of features that you can explore with Excel—some of those are calculating, accounting, charting, inventory tracking, calendars and schedules, goal planning worksheets, mock-ups, task list, checklist, project management charts, forms, planner, and a lot more. This means that with Excel, the company could navigate the information that it needs for its business processes and be able to introduce adjustments or course corrections when needed. Even for SMEs, Excel is still one of the major tools that companies use to retrieve and track information easily, across the organization.

Build reports and analyze and visualize data

From problem solving and end-to-end research, or even from just doing reporting analytics work, Excel is a very powerful tool. If you are a service desk specialist, you can use it to track and trace those individuals who are calling or reaching out to you. If you are supervisor, you can use it to track the performance of your team, making sure that your members are hitting their targets. If you are a manager, you can do your financial projections and planning using Excel.

With its features, you can use it to monitor data, tabulate data, analyze and interpret the results, and be able to design a powerful visualization that answers the problem statements. You can run the statistical analyses—both descriptive and inferential statistics—in Excel and you can also create stories through visualization and dashboards that address specific business areas. You could easily create any appropriate charts, and customize their colors and scales in just a couple of clicks.

Fremista will facilitate a course titled “Mastering Excel: An Advanced MS Excel Course to Optimize its Functions and Tools for Data Driven Tasks” on April 28-29. Topics will include pivot tables, charts, data management tools and other functions. INQ

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshops or if you would like to add your input on the article, please email [email protected], call (02) 8834-1557, (02) 8771-2715 or (0945) 2158935 and look for Jerald Miguel or Karl Paz, or visit www.inquireracademy.com

The author is the Executive Director of the Inquirer Academy.

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