Get Excel Excellent With These Top Courses

Vasco Rodrigues
Vasco Rodrigues

Maximising your Excel experience: from fundamentals to advanced features

Everyone’s favorite spreadsheet application is nearly 40 years old. Microsoft Excel was launched in 1985. For more than three decades it has been helping users with their data analysis from managing budgets, producing grafts and charts, and storing and sorting data.

If data needs to be organized, it’s usually with Excel, whether that’s financial data and accounting or keeping track of other variables such as task and timetable management. Its widespread use across businesses, industries and by individuals has ensured it is a core tool used globally.

While most people use its most basic functionality day-to-day, Excel has a host of exciting features that can elevate data management and analysis to new levels. Unlocking the potential of Excel is only really possible through comprehensive courses, from brushing up on fundamentals to total mastery.

Here we look at some of the options on offer and how complementing manual spreadsheets with automation could elevate your data management experience.

Back to basics or total mastery? Check out these online resources for every level…

Udemy – Introduction to Financial Modelling for Beginners

Go back to basics by creating your first financial models in Excel on this online course. Grasp core concepts in finance and learn more about the financial modelling process with six hours of on-demand videos and 18 downloadable resources. Udemy’s related and industry-specific courses such as ‘Financial Modelling for Beginners’, ‘Real Estate Financial Modeling Bootcamp’, and ‘Financing Modeling: Build A Complete DCF Valuation Model’ are also worth checking out.

Macquarie University – Excel Skills for Business

Offering four levels – Essentials, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, Advanced – the course gradually develops your interface, forecast and modelling skills, culminating in the build of professional dashboards in Excel.

GoSkills Microsoft Excel – Basic & Advanced

Bitesize videos of about six minutes each offer a comprehensive understanding of the application, from navigation and formatting, to formulas, data analysis, validation and security. The courses are mobile-friendly so ideal for learners on the move.

Rice University – Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel

World-renowned Rice University aims to give students a working knowledge of Excel that can then be taken into its more advanced courses such as Business Statistics. The four-week course requires around five hours for each session which includes videos and exercises.

LinkedIn Learning – Excel Tips Weekly

Not a course but a handy resource to dip into is Excel expert Dennis Taylor’s regular, bitesize videos as part of LinkedIn Learning, helping to keep up Excel users’ skills and drills. Recent videos have included the use of emojis in formulas and charts, manipulating objects, exploring layouts with PivotTable, and adding illustrations. Prefer something more structured? Enrol for Taylor’s LinkedIn course - Excel 2016 Essential Training – that takes learners through how best to enter and organise data, perform calculations, formatting, charts, functions and automating tasks.

Beyond Excel training

Excel is an easy-to-use tool to…

  • Better understand your business
  • Exploit data for improved decision-making
  • Track budgets and finance
  • Plan and forecast
  • View and share information

… but its functions are limited and rely on the skills and knowledge of its users if it is to be used to its full potential. With training budgets squeezed, workloads high and courses often time-consuming, individual learning can be an inefficient way to improve your data management operations. A lack of centralisation of workbooks and data sources risks security breaches and could compromise accuracy, which has implications for regulatory and audit demands.

Indeed, a recent article in Accountancy Today suggested accountants should reconsider their reliance solely on Excel for data handling, and ensure they had the right technology to mitigate security vulnerabilities.

A few years earlier James Kwak, a professor of law at the University of Connecticut, warned Excel was “incredibly fragile” following the news an Excel error at JPMorgan may have contributed to the loss of almost $6bn (£4.6bn). It is thought a cell mistakenly divided by the sum of two interest rates, rather than the average.

And it’s not just in accounting and finance. Excel’s abilities could be found wanting when the application is used in situations it was not designed for. During the pandemic Public Health England reportedly misplaced nearly 16,000 Covid test results due to limitations in Excel meaning potentially infectious people were not contacted to self-isolate. Every business needs to ensure it has the right technology mix to handle large volumes of data with speed and accuracy, mitigating risk factors, with transparency and greater control built-in. The answer is often what we call ‘Excel plus’.

‘Excel plus’

Automation is a great way to complement the use of Excel spreadsheets and workbooks and could be the solution to streamlining your processes further while ensuring data security.

Automating data input, storage, analysis and monitoring:

  • Mitigates human error
  • Dispenses with Excel application knowledge gaps
  • Saves budget on maintaining training
  • Generates richer, more actionable data at pace
  • Processes information in real time for an instant snapshot of the state-of-play
  • Offers more accurate analysis for better decision-making and auditing

Automated reconciliation with Aurum

Aurum’s financial data matching software has been helping businesses elevate their data management beyond simple spreadsheets for more than 14 years.

Our reconciliation software is tailored to suit you. There’s no need to spend time on industry-specific Excel courses to get the results you want. Our solutions are fast and scalable, give greater control over a business’s IT environment, and offer added security. Our platform allows greater collaboration with a shareable dashboard of data accessible to the whole team, dispensing with the need for downloading or maintaining applications on an individual level.

We help put businesses in the driving seat with their data, ensuring compliance and control with a quality product targeted to each client’s needs. We work across industries and have a diverse client list including Center Parcs, Ladbrokes, Fullers, and Versapay. Our partnership approach ensures we’re always on hand on your reconciliation and data management journey.

Let us show you how our reconciliation technology can complement or help you graduate from Excel. Book a demo with us now.

Vasco Rodrigues
Vasco Rodrigues

Chief Marketing Officer

Author page

As Aurum Solution’s CMO, Vasco Vaz Rodrigues heads up the marketing department and oversees the generation of original insights for financial professionals. Paired with Aurum’s ability to optimise their time, marketing output therefore ensures that the Aurum Solutions brand provides more than just software but holistically empowers entire finance teams.

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