How to be a good Excel user

What do you need to learn to be “good at Excel”? What Excel training should be mandatory for finance teams?

I really rate the ICAEW’s spreadsheet competency framework as a tool to use to diagnose where you and your team are at and where you should be. It breaks down users into four types – Basic, General, Creator and Developer – and allocates the skills that each level should have.

This is much more helpful to me than users saying that they are “intermediate” or “advanced” users. When I recruit for roles I often use the framework in the job description.

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Why you need Power Query even if you don’t use Big Data

Power query is a fantastic tool for everyone who uses Excel regularly

I’m ashamed to admit I’m one of those who initially thought of Power Query as being a toy for hardcore financial modelling, or manipulating enormous data sets within multinational companies.

This may be because these are often the sort of examples provided. It’s very easy as a busy finance professional in a small or medium finance team to assume based on this that there are better things to spend your time on.

It was only after my second attempt at learning Power Query that I truly grasped how revolutionary it could be for all finance professionals and teams.  If you use Excel to do anything at all, the chances are Power Query will allow you to do it better. In this article I’ve set out four areas where knowledge of a bit of Power Query could transform your professional life.

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