Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Pivot Tables in Excel and I thought it might be useful to start an occasional series highlighting some of their uses. I thought I would start with an accountant's staple - Cash Book Analysis.
If you are not yet familiar with Pivot Tables, it will almost certainly help to view our free video on the subject before you read the rest of this article. Alternatively, if you have already seen this and want to learn pivot tables in greater depth, have a look at our Introduction to Pivot Tables video training course.
Typically, accountants use Excel to automate a traditional cash book by mimicking its manual equivalent with the added benefit of the totals being automatically calculated. A slightly different approach, using the power of Pivot Tables, reduces the data input and significantly increases the reporting flexibility.
Instead of replicating the net balance of each cash transaction in the column associated with its category (as in a manual cash book), simply have a column that contains the name of that category (this can be a drop-down list using data validation) and include the net value once.
By dragging this field into the column area of the pivot table, with the net amount as data, you replicate the traditional approach - but can choose to just show totals rather than the detailed transactions (if you wish). Using the "=month()" formula, you can have a column alongside the data that strips the month number from the date. If you use this as a the Page field in the Pivot Table you can provide monthly summaries.
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