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Features of Microsoft Excel that assist in Analysis of Financial Data

Mar 22, 2008
Success is by no means guaranteed in the business world. However, all business-minded individuals will certainly utilize a variety of different tactics to ensure a win-win situation. Analysis of finances is a key aspect of managing a business, whether consideration needs to be given to future business investments, ways of meeting financial obligations or simply to monitor performance of the company. Traditionally, these objectives were accomplished using a pen, paper and a calculator. In the modern business world, we have the benefit of access to computer applications to streamline these processes.

Excel is an example of an effective spreadsheet program used by financial analysts, project managers and business owners to process financial data. As new editions of Microsoft Excel become available, tools are added to the software to better assist in the analysis of financial data. In a high pressured environment, the aim is to save time, reduce errors and ultimately improve outcomes.

The List Command

Users of Excel will be experienced in using the software to sort and filter data and also to perform calculations. A list in Excel is defined as a series of rows that contain related data and has been designated to function as a datasheet. The data contained within the list can be analysed independently without affecting the rest of the worksheet.

It is therefore possible to generate reports which are targeted to specific areas of interest. This is particularly important when dealing with large or complex worksheets. Having the ability to separate your data into distinct sets offers increased flexibility and thereby allows financial calculations to be performed more quickly.

The Web Query Feature

Financial analysis often involves inputting data from various sources, including the internet. Rather than inputting new data manually, the Web Query feature enables data to be imported directly from a website into a worksheet. This is most useful if the data is contained within a table or a preformatted area. Time is saved and efficiency is therefore improved.

PivotTable Reports

A PivotTable report is defined as an interactive, cross-tabulated report that summarises and analyses data from various sources. It is easy to set up using the PivotTable wizard. The report can be used to assist in the analysis of financial data by enhancing your ability to detect trends and relationships.

Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting can be used to highlight variances amongst data and thereby assist in the analysis of large amounts of data. By applying a format such as cell shading or font colour to a particular cell, it is possible to quickly identify areas that require more attention from the appropriate department or individual.

These are just some of the features of Excel that can be used by individuals to assist in the analysis of financial data. Microsoft Excel training provides an opportunity to fully explore these features and subsequently, allow individuals to use Excel more successfully in a professional environment.
About the Author
Author is a trainer with a Microsoft Office training company, the UK industry leader in its sector. For more information on Microsoft Excel training, please visit
www.MicrosoftTraining.net
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