Excel training for auditors

I recently designed and delivered some Excel training for auditors. Specifically, it was Excel training for audit trainees who had just started at the firm.

I benefitted enormously at the start of my career when my employer arranged for all new audit trainees to have Excel training as part of our induction. Even though it was pretty basic, it established a good grounding in things like formula construction, absolute and relative cell references, and a few shortcuts.

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Why does my pivot table default to Count?

If your pivot table defaults to Count instead of Sum, then you have inconsistent numerical data.

I found this out on a webinar about five years ago, and it still seems to be a mostly unknown feature.

And yes, I call it a feature, not a bug, because it is ultimately helping you.

A pivot table showing a Sum of Amounts column.
Pivot table showing a Sum of Amounts column. If this defaults to Count, watch out!

What it is doing is giving you an immediate message that your numerical data has gaps, or perhaps has numbers formatted as text, or other errors. If you ignore this, you might produce inaccurate analysis.

So – if your pivot table defaults to Count, don’t do what I used to do, which was to tut and manually change it to Sum.

Investigate your data carefully until you’ve found the inconsistencies and then try it again until it defaults to Sum. Here’s a link to some suggestions for converting text to numbers.

I love training finance teams in Excel and Power Query – have a look here at what I can do for you.

Five things I learned at the Global Excel Summit 2022

How to change the layout of your pivot table – one of many things I learned at the Global Excel Summit

Last week I “went” to the Global Excel Summit. This is a three day event featuring many of the superstars of Excel, eg Leila Gharani, Chandoo, Wyn Hopkins, Oz du Soleil etc etc. It was virtual this year, but as I’d never been before I didn’t know what to expect anyway.

I learned way more than five things, of course, but here are my biggest takeaways.

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The five most useful new Excel functions for finance teams

Table showing new Excel function FILTER

This post sets out the five most useful new Excel functions for finance teams, based on my experience. By “new” I mean available in 2019 or later versions of Excel (including Office 365).

Many of us are self-taught in Excel, and it can be hard to keep up with the changes. In the past few years there have been loads of new Excel functions that replace and add to existing ones that you might be familiar with.

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Power Query for accountants – enhance your trial balance

Power Query has been out for over a decade and yet the majority of accountants I meet still seem unaware of what it can do for them.

A possible issue is that it is usually presented in the context of Power BI, and analysing Big Data. And the type of people who like to talk about that also like to talk about other scary things such as VBA and SQL. There aren’t many training resources or articles focussing on Power Query for accountants more generally.

Perhaps we all need a lightbulb moment. Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash
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