Home Finance Utilizing Excel in Finance: The Love/Hate Relationship

Utilizing Excel in Finance: The Love/Hate Relationship

by kickiong

The Enduring Attraction of Microsoft Excel

Since its launch in 1985, Microsoft Excel has dominated the enterprise world. Intuitive and simple to study fundamental capabilities, even learners can create a fundamental spreadsheet with a method in minutes.

Although Excel provides new options and capabilities usually, long-time customers admire the consistency of the applying, with fundamental capabilities remaining a lot the identical over time.

Immediately, Excel stays the most well-liked spreadsheet software in the marketplace, with roughly 750 million customers worldwide utilizing the applying for every thing from monetary modeling to information evaluation.

However why?

Why does Excel proceed to be the selection of finance professionals to handle their monetary information?

What makes Excel’s recognition so enduring?

One of many main explanation why Excel utilization stays so excessive is a straightforward one. It’s included in a Microsoft Workplace license, which nearly each enterprise has, making it a easy selection based mostly on proximity alone. Compatibility can also be vital, and Excel actually shines in that space, with variations out there for Home windows, macOS, iOS, and Android working programs. It’s additionally sturdy, with customers in a position to create greater than 1,000,000 rows and 16,000 columns on a single spreadsheet.

However let’s be sincere: if Excel didn’t carry out, it wouldn’t matter if everybody had easy accessibility to it. The reality is that Excel’s construction makes it straightforward to get began, even should you’ve by no means created an Excel spreadsheet.

Consolation and familiarity additionally play a task in Excel’s persevering with recognition. For many people, the primary spreadsheet software program we used proper out of school was Excel. Over time, as new workers had been educated to make use of Excel, the impetus to alter spreadsheet software program purposes remained nonexistent.

Typically, there isn’t a must search for an alternate spreadsheet software. When used correctly and for the appropriate causes, Excel permits customers to handle information, determine traits and carry out full monetary evaluation on their enterprise information.  It’s solely when Excel is used for causes it’s designed for (as an accounting software program software as an example), that you just’ll run up in opposition to Excel’s limitations.

Benefits of Microsoft Excel

Like every monetary software, utilizing Microsoft Excel has each benefits and downsides, which we’ll undergo subsequent.


  • Simple to get began: Whereas complicated calculations, macros, and pivot tables take a major period of time to grasp, even Excel learners can simply grasp most Excel capabilities in a brief period of time. Sure, it’s true that not everybody can grow to be an Excel grasp, however usually, the vast majority of customers won’t ever have to be.
  • Constructed-in formulation: One of many causes finance groups use Excel is that the formulation are constructed into the applying. Whereas there are situations the place making a customized method is important, for these creating easy spreadsheets, clicking on a method to incorporate along with your information takes mere seconds.
  • Tables: The Tables choice in Excel is second to none, with even new customers in a position to simply create a desk shortly. With greater than 50 predefined desk types, customized information units out there, and automated column calculation, if that you must create information tables, Excel is your only option.
  • Scalability: You may create a small worksheet, or enter greater than 1,000,000 traces of knowledge in Excel, making it a terrific choice for small companies in addition to international organizations.
  • Password safety: If that you must share your spreadsheet with colleagues, you possibly can password defend the information. This fashion, colleagues can view spreadsheet information, however can’t make any modifications; whether or not by chance or purposefully.
  • Collaboration: Excel is an effective collaborative instrument. It’s straightforward to share Excel information and worksheets, with a number of customers in a position to edit the spreadsheet as wanted.


  • Can grow to be sluggish: One among Excel’s benefits is its capability to retailer massive quantities of knowledge. Nonetheless, massive information can influence the velocity of the applying, inflicting it to grow to be sluggish.
  • Takes time to grasp: Once more, new customers can simply create fundamental spreadsheets and ever produce charts and graphs. But when that you must use macros, pivot tables or difficult formulation, anticipate a really steep studying curve.
  • Extreme information entry: Whereas it’s straightforward to import information from different purposes into Excel, that information will nonetheless have to be formatted correctly. And should you’re ranging from scratch, you’ll be spending plenty of time inputting your monetary information.
  • Error potential: Handbook information entry will increase the probability of errors; errors that may be tough to identify and may simply perpetuate over time. That is notably true for these utilizing Excel to create monetary statements.

Excel wouldn’t have endured this lengthy if it wasn’t a invaluable instrument for finance and accounting professionals. However for all its strengths, Excel will not be all the time your best option in relation to accounting.

Frequent makes use of for Excel

Utilizing Excel, enterprise homeowners, CFOs, accountants, and clerks can create every thing from a easy spreadsheet to a posh evaluation of your corporation’ efficiency.

The next consists of among the commonest ways in which you should utilize Excel for your corporation.

Making a finances

Companies small and huge ought to all the time put together a finances. Sadly, many entry-level accounting software program purposes provide restricted budgeting functionality, and even high-end purposes might not help you create a customized finances.


You may obtain a wide range of finances templates to make use of for your corporation.

That’s the place Excel shines in. Whether or not you export your numbers straight into Excel or enter them manually, you possibly can simply create a easy finances for your corporation, utilizing one of many included finances templates out there in Excel, or by creating one from scratch. In bigger organizations, departments are often tasked with making a departmental finances in Excel, then offering that data to the accounting or finance division, the place they’ll mix the finances totals acquired from every division to create an entire organizational finances.

The one downside to creating an Excel finances is that you just’ll must manually replace finances numbers usually.

Monetary evaluation

Excel is a superb instrument for monetary analysts; offering quite a few capabilities and formulation which are notably helpful for monetary evaluation. The next are a number of of probably the most often used Excel monetary capabilities and formulation.

  1. XNPV – This method calculates an organization’s internet current worth or NPV for a specific interval.
  2. XIRR – This method calculates an organization’s inner price of return, completely different cashflows over a particular time period.
  3. MIRR – This method calculates the inner price of return for an funding, wanting on the success or failure of an funding made right into a second funding.
  4. PMT – This method is likely one of the most often used formulation in Excel and is used to calculate the current worth of an funding by present rates of interest.
  5. IPMT – Barely completely different from PMT, IPMT calculates curiosity on a particular debt fee reasonably than investments throughout the board.
  6. IRR – IRR calculates the inner price of return for money flows, utilizing the annual rate of interest and usually occurring earnings.

Altogether there are greater than 450 capabilities out there in Excel for monetary professionals to reap the benefits of, all designed to assist with the decision-making course of.

Creating charts and graphs

Some of the often used options in Excel is the power to create charts and graphs. Utilizing information in Excel, you possibly can simply create pie, bar, and line charts.


You may create pie, bar, and line charts in Excel.

It’s also possible to create column charts and space charts, in addition to extra complicated charts resembling scatter charts and bubble charts.

Database administration

Whereas Excel will not be designed as a database administration software, utilizing it as such could be useful, notably in case your database is numbers-driven. In case your database is principally informational and can be utilized by a number of events, Excel is probably not your most suitable option. Nonetheless, in case your database comprises data that requires calculations or comparisons, it may be a superb selection.


You may create a number of databases in Excel to assist handle every thing from workers to buyer orders.

For extra superior database administration functionality, think about using Excel with Microsoft Entry.


Excel is an effective useful resource for getting ready a monetary forecast for your corporation. You may create a easy forecast based mostly on historic information or use among the extra superior capabilities to create a extra in-depth forecast.


The forecast above exhibits historic gross sales in addition to forecasted gross sales for this firm.

Together with a easy forecast, you possibly can select from numerous choices together with a confidence interval which will help you establish how correct the ready forecast is.

Is Excel a sensible choice for finance?

Excel wouldn’t have endured this lengthy if it wasn’t a invaluable instrument for finance and accounting professionals. Excel can create customized charts and graphs in minutes, forecast brief and long-term earnings and bills, and supply invaluable ‘what-if’ situations utilizing sensitivity evaluation, for corporations trying to make extra knowledgeable monetary selections.

However for all its strengths, Excel will not be all the time your best option in relation to accounting. Transposition errors, incorrect or inadvertently eliminated formulation, or perhaps a easy typo can carry severe repercussions. With out the safeguards present in different monetary and accounting applications, Excel information ought to all the time be carefully reviewed for potential errors.

The distinction between Excel and different monetary software program

There are many proponents who advocate for utilizing Excel as a monetary software program software. Whereas actually attainable, the dangers outweigh the rewards. Think about the next.

  • Utilizing Excel, you need to create all accounting processes and enter all transactions manually. Paid your hire? You’ll need to enter the payee manually. Obtained a examine from a buyer? The identical factor goes. When you’ll additionally need to enter buyer and vendor data in your accounting software program, you’ll solely do that after. In Excel, you’re doing it for each single transaction.
  • If you happen to’re not an skilled accountant, you might discover working in Excel each complicated and time-consuming. Utilizing monetary software program, a lot of the accounting work is finished behind the scenes. Not so in Excel, the place you’ll must enter your information and create your entire studies manually, which could be a battle for these not schooled in accounting.
  • Errors can occur it doesn’t matter what type of software program software you utilize. However in Excel, a easy transposition of numbers can have catastrophic outcomes. Whereas you can even make a knowledge entry error in an accounting software program software, it’s a lot simpler to find that mistake and proper it than to find that very same mistake in a spreadsheet containing lots of of rows of knowledge.

However for all its benefits, accounting software program has limitations as effectively, notably in very important areas resembling forecasting and budgeting. That’s why utilizing Excel stays an vital a part of the whole monetary administration course of for your corporation.

Why Excel will stay fashionable

Excel is likely one of the hottest instruments utilized by company finance departments worldwide, and is more likely to stay the go-to useful resource for companies massive and small. When used at the side of different vital sources resembling accounting software program and database purposes, Excel will help with information administration, monetary planning, and budgeting, whereas simply dealing with small duties as effectively. Making a fundamental Excel workbook solely takes minutes and can be utilized for every thing from managing depreciation bills to monitoring monetary efficiency.

Included with Microsoft Workplace, straightforward to get began, and versatile sufficient for small and huge companies, the benefits of utilizing Microsoft Excel clearly outweigh the disadvantages.


Related Posts