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As a small business, should you use Microsoft Excel?

It’s important for small business owners to utilize every tool at their disposal, in order to maximize profits. The typical small business owner wears many hats.

During the start-up phase of your company, you will at times find yourself needing to be the bookkeeper, accountant, general manager, and administrator all rolled into one. Consequently, you will need a powerful weapon in your arsenal, in order to overcome your day-to-day challenges.

Enter Microsoft Excel. In this post we are going to look at why investing in Microsoft Excel makes sense for small business owners.

1. It's extremely affordable

Most small business owners and entrepreneurs are operating on a tight budget and may not have the finances for expensive software packages. Therefore, it’s important to integrate Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook into your standard business workflows, as much as possible.

You can buy a standalone version of Microsoft Excel for a reasonable amount. In addition, there’s an option to subscribe to Microsoft 365. In which case you also get Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook plus 1 TB of storage. Furthermore, Microsoft provides different licenses, so you can easily find an option that suits your needs.

2. You can use Excel to assist with time management and stay organized

It’s critical that any small business owner manages their time effectively, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As the old adage goes, time is money. You will need to set and negotiate reasonable deadlines, assign tasks to employees, and monitor progress.

You can create simple weekly planner spreadsheets to start managing your time effectively. Alternatively, for more sophisticated needs, you can download an Excel project management template from sites like Vertex42.

You can also download customizable Excel calendar templates to assist with planning and organization.

3. Easily manage your financial activities with Excel

Excel is an established industry standard, in the accounting and bookkeeping spaces. Smaller enterprises can use Excel to manage payroll or to calculate wages based on the number of hours employees have worked.

There are more features however, that small business owners can utilize. You can use Excel to assist with forecasting, for example. If you have a newer version of Excel, it’s very easy to create a forecast sheet. If you access this tool on the ribbon, Excel will automatically create a visual forecast worksheet for you, based on your historical company data. You can then use this forecast to assist with budgeting and predicting future sales.

4. You can automate common tasks with Microsoft Excel

You don’t have to know any code to automate simple tasks in Microsoft Excel. Let’s say you need to apply the same formatting to multiple spreadsheets with the same data.

For example, you may have to make your company’s name on a sheet bold, change the font and apply the company’s branding and colors to certain elements of your sheet. You can use the macro recorder to record these actions once, and then simply run the macro every time you need to perform this task.

5. Use Excel to create a lightweight CRM to manage Sales

Driving sales is the life force of any small business. Sales is a fundamental component of business growth, and it’s advisable for any small business owner to use a tool to monitor sales. You can use an Excel sales CRM template to manage leads, tweak your sales process and track your conversion rate. This will allow you to continuously improve your customer experience and address your customer’s needs.

6. The streamlined experience

One of the main advantages of Microsoft Excel is that there is a desktop version and mobile version of the app. Many small business owners use mobile apps in order to enhance productivity. For example, you may have one employee creating a spreadsheet on the desktop version of the app. For the average small business owner, integrating the mobile app in order to make edits on the go, would assist with increasing efficacy and help streamline the process. You can download the Office Mobile App for free from the App Store, Google Play Store or the Amazon Appstore.

7. Leverage the Excel user community

Excel has a large community of global users. So, if you are struggling with a certain business-related task or calculation in Excel, chances are that there will be someone to help you.

You can visit the Excel Tech Community, in order to get assistance with formulas and advice about best practices in Excel.

Wrapping up

Finally, it should be clear that Microsoft Excel can add great value to your company in a myriad of ways. Ultimately saving you time and money, thus improving your bottom line.

If you’d like to learn more about how to collaborate with your staff using Excel, visit this post.

Find out more about what’s new in Excel here.

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