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Do you know what the original “all-things” tracking app is? The trusty microsoft excel. Excel is not just for homework, and it’s a handy tool to have in your business toolbelt.

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Microsoft Excel gives businesses the tools they need to make the most of their data. Excel workbooks contain individual worksheets, which you can use to create lists and spreadsheets. Once you become accustomed to the application and familiar with the more powerful functions available, you’ll find many uses for this business tool.

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Here Are 10 Uses of Microsoft Excel for Your Small Business.

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1) Data Entry and Storage

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At its most basic level, Excel is an excellent tool for both data entry and storage. In fact, an Excel file size is only limited by your device’s computing power and memory. Worksheets can contain at most 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns. So obviously Excel can store a lot of data. Not only that, it features such as Data Form which make it easy for data to be inputted and viewed, where users can create customized data entry forms tailored for their specific business needs. This can be used to build and maintain customer mailing lists or employee work shift lists.

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2) Accounting and Budgeting

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Excel even includes accounting and budgeting templates for easy use. From there the software’s built in calculating and formula features are available to help you organize and synthesize results.

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3) Collection and Verification of Business Data

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Businesses often employ multiple systems (i.e CRM, inventory) each with its own database and logs. All of which can be exported into Excel for easy access. The program can also be used to clean up data, by removing incomplete or duplicate entries; eliminating such data from the beginning is necessary as it can impact later analysis and reporting.

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4) Scheduling

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Businesses create basic employee and resource schedules with Excel that can be color-coded and designed to automatically update as the schedules change. Create weekly worksheets with column headings of each day, and name the rows based on hourly slots or work shifts. Fill in each slot with the employee or resource name for a given day.

A conference room resource schedule sheet may have Monday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. marked for an executive meeting for example, while Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. is reserved for a conference call. All departments can work from the same resource sheet so that everyone knows when a given resource is available for use.

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5) Build Great Charts

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Excel allows business users to unlock the potential of their data, by using formulae across a grid of cells. Data is inserted into individual cells in rows or columns, allowing it to be sorted and filtered, and then displayed in a visual presentation. Using pie charts, graphs and clustered columns adds meaning to data, which otherwise may just exist as row after row of numbers. These visualisations can add extra emphasis to business reports and persuasive marketing material.

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6) Help Identify Trends

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When presenting data in the form of charts or graphs, it can be helpful to include average lines, which explicitly detail the key trends emerging from the information. This may help demonstrate the key points to other users in a straightforward manner – for instance, an executive from a different department during a board meeting. Excel allows trend lines to be extended beyond the graph, to offer predictions of future activity – and such forecasts can help businesses develop their future strategy.

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7) Administrative and Managerial Duties

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One aspect of managerial duties is creating and outlining business processes. This aids in process optimization and is an effective tool for organizing procedures and scenarios. Excel offers tools that allow users to create flow charts, which can include text, pictures, and animations.

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8) Bringing Data Together

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Excel can be used to bring information from various files and documents together so that it exists in a single location. As well as raw data and information from other spreadsheets, it is possible to import text and images. Other objects can be added using the Insert tab, or additional spreadsheets can be added to the file.

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9) Return on Investment

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Tracking total business sales in dollars along with total advertising and marketing expenditures with Excel allows you to see your Return on Investment for each campaign. If you know you normally sell 100 units of a product each week at $20 profit each and you launch an advertising campaign that costs $2,000 for one week, you’ll need to see an additional 100 product sales to break even on that campaign. If you’re tracking the sales, you’ll be able to see how long it takes you to reach break even or additional profit levels from an ad campaign.

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10) Online Access

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Excel is available online as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite. This means business leaders and employees have access to the program from a range of devices, from almost any location. Providing they have a web-enabled PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet it should be possible to access Excel, making remote and mobile working viable.

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All in all excel is a wonderful tool for business owners. As taxpreneurs and accounting entrepreneurs, there are so many great uses for excel. What are some ways you use excel in your business? Comment below.

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