Excel is one of the most comprehensive and all encompassing packages out there. There is no other package (Microsoft or otherwise) that can be used for such a variety of functions. Although other Microsoft packages are useful, if only Excel existed you could still get your work done. Remove Excel and most businesses would not know what to do. So a common question people have is “What do I need to know in Excel”?
Excel is too broad to know everything
The simple answer is that Excel is too big to know everything. Even knowing everything about one of the tools (e.g. Pivot Tables) is difficult. So instead of robotically learning about each tool and formula, you should rather consider what you do with Excel and focus on that aspect. Although Excel 1,2 and 3 might show you what is there, it will in no way prepare you for what you need to do in the real world.
Job Function is important for Excel
More important than just knowing the tools, you should consider what your or your staff’s job function is.
- Do you receive messy data and you spend hours cleaning it up? Data Cleanup course may be the answer
- Do you receive a database that you need to turn into reports? Pivot Tables may be the answer
- Do you need to visually display results of reports (dashboards)?- Excel Dashboards online course may be the answer
- Are you responsible for all the above?
- Do you only review spreadsheets that other people prepare? Auditing a spreadsheet
- Do you do financial calculations involving interest calculations? Time Value of money course
- Do you regularly preparing budgets/ forecasts? Financial Modelling Budgeting and Forecasting course
- Do you build models that assist in decision making? Financial Modelling Budgeting and Forecasting course
- Do you regularly run sensitivities, answer what-if questions and consider various scenarios? What If Analysis
Each of the above should focus on different aspects, tools and formula in Excel. In some cases the exact same tool /formula is used in different ways in the above responsibilities (have a look at the areas that VLOOKUP covers). Instead of learning everything about everything, it is more useful to focus on the areas that will help you and your staff now.
Often Excel is learnt via osmosis. You kind of inherent bits and pieces of knowledge and (eventually) you know enough to do your job. A better approach is too learn the most useful aspects of Excel for your CURRENT requirements. Often you will touch on, and get to know, tools that can be used elsewhere. When your job functions changes you will just need to upgrade a little and adapt your knowledge for the new area.