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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Giving thanks in a recession

It's Thanksgiving today for our friends across the Atlantic and this made me think how little we take the time to be thankful.

It's easy to lose perspective if business is difficult, you are not sure if your job is safe and maybe the added financial pressure of Christmas approaching is causing genuine stress and worry, but we all have things to be thankful for.

Whether it be good friends, family or even just the fact that we are not starving and we have a roof over our heads, many around the world could show us why we should be grateful.

I for one am truly grateful for my amazing wife and children.

What have you to be thankful for?


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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Preparing for the new year

I know this may sound a little premature but "What is your New Year's Resolution, when it comes to work?"

Many of you will have a December year-end, but for everyone else the end of the year provides a natural breakpoint too.

Why is this important now?

Typically, you will resolve that something will work differently in the new year. This will require a new process, new software or some other change to your working environment to enable the change. If things are to be different in the new year, these enabling changes need to be starting to happen now. If you leave them until the new year, they are unlikely to get started until, say, February (once you have caught up after the break), they may then take, say, a month to implement, turning your new year's resolution into a reality in March, rather than January.

So, back to my earlier question, "What is your new year's resolution?" and "What do you need to implement now to make it a reality?"

If the answer involves a spreadsheet, why not let Spreadsheets by Email do it for you and you can concentrate on planning your office party!





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Monday, 16 November 2009

Excel Pivot Table Uses: Cash Book Analysis


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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Thursday, 12 November 2009

New location for free Pivot Tables Videos

Many of our regular readers will have already viewed our Free Excel Pivot Table Training Videos for both Excel 2003 and 2007, or indeed have purchased the full Introduction to Pivot Tables Video Training Package.

Due to their popularity these have now been given their own domain at www.pivot-tables.biz.

You can still see the free videos at www.pivot-tables.biz/FreeVideo.htm or purchase the full course at www.pivot-tables.biz.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Very funny take on the UK banking shake-up

I have just received a link to a silly but very entertaining take on the break up of the bailed out UK banks that I just had to share:

Banks to be broken up into kittens

Enjoy!


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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Poll Results: We're all building our own spreadsheets!

We now have the results of our (completely unscientific) October poll in answer to the question:

Who builds your spreadsheets?Thank you to all those who responded.

As you can see from the graph above, the overwhelming majority of you (90%) are designing and building your spreadsheets yourself.
Thirty-eight of the forty-two respondents to the poll said they built their spreadsheets themselves, two delegated the job to a junior member of staff and another two used a specialist provider such as our own Spreadsheets by Email.

I would question whether in every case this was the best use of your time. It is easy for a senior (and expensive) member of staff to spend hours getting a spreadsheet to do what he/she wants it to, when efficient delegation to an Excel-literate member of staff - or a few pounds to an external provider - can usually return a better, more cost-effective result in much less time.

My suspicion is that people like myself are not getting the message out there well enough as to how easy it is for someone experienced in Excel and business to understand your requirements and produce a spreadsheet that meets, or exceeds, your requirements. All I can do is suggest taking a look at what some people have to say about their experience with Spreadsheets by Email.

I would also suggest submitting your requirements to Spreadsheets by Email. You will receive a no-obligation, fixed-price quote for the work and you can decide yourself whether it is worth it.

Sorry if I sound a bit salesy, but you can genuinely save a great deal of time and money and it costs nothing to get a quote.

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