How To Make Good Use of Spreadsheets
Most computer users use spreadsheets software such as Microsoft Excel in their daily home and office. However very few are aware of the potential of spreadsheets in helping them in financial accounting and statistical analysis.
There are many uses of spreadsheets beyond the simple arithmetical and data analysis we are used to. Spreadsheets can assist us in many tasks with accuracy and speed.
Before we look at some of the uses we can put Spreadsheet software to let’s look at a few of its features, which make it unique and useful.
The most important features of any spreadsheet are the calculation of figures using arithmetic signs or functions. While not completely unique to spreadsheets, this feature is particularly more visible and word processing software.
For example in Microsoft Excel, there is a formula bar for typing or displaying typed formulas. The formula can be inserted in this bar or in a specific cell preceded by an = (equal) sign.
You need not insert actual figures, as that would be cumbersome. You simply specify a function such as SUM, AVERAGE, e.t.c and enclose into brackets the beginning column and row numbers and the ending column and row numbers.
The use of functions helps to easily perform calculations. Not only would the computation be accurate but it helps to simplify an otherwise complicated calculations process.
As we have seen, Spreadsheets have many useful features, which make calculation of figures simpler. Now let’s look at some of the uses you can put spreadsheets to:
Whether at the office or at home, drawing and maintaining budgets is important. Not only will you be focused and be able to pursue your financial objects clearly with a budget, but you can compare your actual versus planned performance. You can easily prepare a detailed budget with spreadsheets. The calculations can easily be done by entering appropriate formulas and getting the totals and differences.
So you can prepare a cash flow analysis for Monitoring and predicting likely income and expenditure to keep in track with financial affairs of your office or home.
Similarly you may easily predict changes in values such as effects of a price change on costs, discounts and profit. A fixed table can be prepared to show these changes but more significantly the figures could be changed from time to time to reflect new situations with same formulas in place.
Perhaps the most frequent use of spreadsheets is in financial and cost accounting. Many businesses use spreadsheets to calculate balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and cash books.
You can perform bank reconciliation, calculate jobs costs, taxes, schedule payments, forecast profits and control stocks. In all these tasks the spreadsheet proves a very important tool in simplifying the computation process and production of the results.
In data collection and analysis, spreadsheets can be used to record, present and analyses the results of polls, surveys and research. With new gadgets such as handheld, laptops and computerized. Mobile phones, you can do all that while on the road and getting the results instantly.
For teachers and students, in addition to the foregoing, spreadsheets can be used in class work and research activities.
In mathematics and the sciences, spreadsheets could be used to convert temperature figures whether in Celsius or far hermetic, metric to imperial measurements, pounds to kilos, exchange rates among a host of other measurements.
You can also calculate trigonometric and logarithmic functions, standard deviations and critical path analysis.
In addition, the computations may be presented in table on graphic form. There are buttons you can click to make your data appear in table format or in the form of graphs and charts. These enhance the presentability and understanding of the data.
I could give you a hundred or so uses of spreadsheets. However, the few I have mentioned are the more important. Suffice it to say that spreadsheets software is some of the most important application software used at the office and home.