Ask anyone who works in a business environment, and they will tell you that besides their email application and PowerPoint, Excel is one of the most widely used applications. Excel helps organize and analyze data. How do you learn to use the program when working with a computer is not your gift? Is there an Excel for dummies? What are the best ways to for you, as a business owner, to use Excel? Learn the answers to these questions and more by reading the following points.
- Organizing and analyzing customer data
Send out an email to all male customers who have a birthday in May. Send out a list of gift ideas to husbands as their wedding anniversary approaches. Determine how many customers come from the neighboring community versus how many come from the same town as your business. All this information can be mined from your customer data using Excel.
- Create flowcharts and organizational charts
Communicate with your employees about company processes by creating a flow chart in Excel. Flowcharts tell employees the proper channels that they must follow to take time off or to complete a customer order.
If your company has many executive levels, teach the new hires who are in charge of whom by creating the company’s organizational charts.
Flow charts and organizational charts can be created with ease using Excel.
- Keep track of budgets and cash flow
Just as individuals use Excel as a check register and to keep track of spending in separate categories, business owners can use Excel to keep track of their business expenses. Analyze the data by seeing which departments are spending more than other departments.
- Organize inventory
Do you need to know the original cost for an item you purchased to sell at your store so you can price the item with an appropriate markup? Do you want to know which items you are selling more than others? Would you find it helpful to know which things come from which vendors? Understanding and analyzing your sales is an integral part of owning a business. Use Excel to help make wise business decisions.
- Keep track of big purchases
Every business requires supplies. Your break room needs a refrigerator. Your administrative assistant needs a desk and a computer. Keep track of these purchases on an Excel spreadsheet. Know which vendor you used for an item so if you need to replace an article, that reordering information is easily found. Include a screenshot of the item’s receipt and warranty information. This will make tax time easier, and you will also know what can be done with an object breaks down unexpectedly.
- Keep track of employee information.
Have a spreadsheet with employee phone numbers, addresses, and birthdays. Also, include emergency contact information in the spreadsheet. You can also use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of some payroll and benefits information. Know how many personal days your custodian has left by checking the Excel sheet.
- Forecast sales
Keep track of sales throughout the year so you can use this data to predict trends. This way you can make sure you have the appropriate amount of inventory and employees on days that are surprisingly busy.
- Create reports and charts
Let your salespeople know how they are performing by creating a weekly summary of sales. Show the sales manager how the sales compare among the employees by creating a bar graph. Allow your shareholders to see the company’s health by creating profit and loss statements. Show how much of your sales are earned during breakfast compared with lunch.
- Create one-of-a-kind forms
Create customized forms that can be emailed to your employees. These forms can retrieve data that you think is important to extract as a business owner. Create expense reports or sick leave forms. Customize the forms, so there is a difference between departments.
- Create your employee schedule
Easily mark off when Kylie has college classes and when Marco volunteers at the animal shelter. Use a spreadsheet to see how many hours each person is scheduled for during a week. See which employees work the most and who works the least. Get alerts when your employee is working more than 40 hours per week.
Regardless of your how you use Excel, know that the capabilities are almost limitless. Take online courses to learn more about how Excel can help you make business decisions. Learn how to not only analyze data but how to collect appropriate and accurate data.
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