For small and starter businesses the importance of a consistently and continuously updated record of accounts is essential. Staying on top of such book work will only benefit you in time and money. One of the most common ways to do this however is with the classic office excel. Those tiles can be daunting but once you get to know them you will be entering data like a pro. You might consider Excel to be ‘old school’ and that there would be far better programs by now; this may be true for some applications but people always end up coming back to the classics for a lot of particular uses. This is why it is important to maintain knowledge in such software; because it is so versatile.

1 – SUM and other Calculation

Excel contains multiple different ways to calculate numbers and everyone has their own techniques and what they think is faster. Knowing the basic functions in depth though will let you discover what works for you faster. As seen to the right, the simple calculation of which cells you want calculated with which other cells is visualised. The formula represents the two data locations and also what needs to be done to each of them. This is just a small example but you can easily see that if you wanted to multiply the numbers together or divide then simply changing the input from ‘+’ to ‘*’ or ‘/’ would function.

SUM and other Calculation
On a side note, Any two values no matter their location can be calculated, for example, i could use a number in cell ‘A1’ and multiply it with a number in ‘k33’ and it would work. This is the beauty of excel, although it has a reputation for being really complicated; once you start to understand how it works it is easy to get the hang of and customise fully no matter what data and information you want inputted.


2 – Click and Drag

Putting in date and numerical headings can take a long time if your simple inputting them one-by-one. Compare that by just clicking and dragging the data to the number or date you need. As seen in the image, simply typing two variables, in this case numbers, and hovering over the bottom right corner will show a black cross. Clicking and dragging to the desired amount of numbers is all it takes.

Click and Drag
Compare this to typing out number after number or even date after date. It is easy to see which is more efficient. Many people overlook this simple trick and in the long run it can cost you in time and money; which we all agree nobody wants to waste.


3 – Titles and Colour

One must not overlook the necessity of visuals; Here at Nudge, we proud ourselves on our ability to use business orientated data and transform it into valuable stimulating information. (Visuals that are far better in design and information conveying than excel. Looking at row and columns of numbers will sooner give you a headache than an answer to your company’s financial future. Consider your future self when setting up a data sheet. Would you want to look at a greyscale page filled with uncorrelated numbers, or would you prefer to quickly and simply visually understand where to look with the use of representable colours and graphs?

Titles and Colour
It may seem to be a waste of time making things look colourful but 93% of human communication is made up of visuals. Consider that statistic and also consider how user friendly it is for the person you want show.


4 – Consistency and Ease of use
If you plan on having other people be able to understand your excel spreadsheet, aka your accountant or your assistants; you need to be consistent with how you have them created. For example, templates for particular records will allows for you and others to easily and simply convey and record the important data seamlessly, without having to relearn a whole new layout; or even worse train the staff to use them countless times.

The more you ‘get-to-know’ and familiarise yourself with the layout of your complicated spreadsheet, the faster you will do it. It is that simple. For example, there are multiple free templates out there that others have created to promote such seamless systems. Such as: That being said, downloading templates may work for you and it may not, creating your own will allow you establish what you do and don’t want within the data. As you build and contribute to it, you will learn faster than if you were to download one straight from the web. It is important to consider both options however.

5 – Graphs and Graphics

Graphics and titles with colour combine to reinforce a professional and appealing look and feel to your spreadsheets. Everyone can agree that looking at a graph is much more visually stimulating compared to looking at lines and lines of numbers. It is simple enough to create graphs with the data you have. Just select the rows or columns you want correlated and then press which visual/graph you deem most appropriate for the data.

Graphs and Graphics
One of the best features of such graphs is that they will update continuously with the data if it has been changed. This allows for customisation and continual updating so less input is needed. Great examples of this will allows for the life of your business or data to be analysed and enable trend and forecasting analysis to be as seamless as possible.

These are just a few of the ways that you can maximise excel efficiency. They will combine to ensure a fast and user friendly format for which quick information can be inputted and also it.