Why Should Accountancy Firms Provide Microsoft Excel Training To Employees?

We can’t deny the massive change in CPAs' working styles from the 20th century to the 21st century. With every passing year, companies are adopting new ways of working. Employees are moving towards smart working. They are using software and tools to work efficiently.Have you ever thought, is it right to completely rely on software? Or are these tools really effective to use in any big accounting firm? You might be a little bit confused. But, No Worries!The discussion of the article is based on: Understanding the use of Microsoft Excel to an accountant and why companies should provide training about excel to their employees.How Microsoft Excel is increasing the efficiency of an accountant?A thorough understanding of Microsoft Excel is essential to an accountant's career development. There are many reasons that prove that Microsoft Excel is the right and the most effective tool for any accountant. Here are a few:1: It increases proficiency.2: Excel has numerous functioning and features including:You can use formulas like – Sum, Multiply, Average, and many more.You can easily sort the data.You can easily fetch the data.You can store huge data.Excel helps in managing data in an ordered form.3: Easily share your data with others over the internet.4: Track your edit details and many more.Why Excel Training is Essential for Accounting employees?If you want to explore why Excel training is essential for your employees, then you might want to first understand why training is one of the most critical activities in your company. In an ever-changing economy like ours, you have to give quality employees training time. With this, proper attention is important to ensure your organization is consistently successful and competitive.Additionally, employees will be enthusiastic about learning. They attract an environment that promotes problem-solving capability in the workplace. This allows employees to perform their jobs efficiently and produce high-quality results. For example, when companies provide training opportunities consistently, employees are more likely to be satisfied. Educated employees will contribute to the company's success.Time and ProductivityA well-trained employee will produce better results in less time, with the work completed the first time correctly. This will lead to better results for the company. Having less repetition allows your organization to produce services and products satisfactorily. A good indicator of which training is necessary is how difficult it is for your employees to master a task.A mentor is an employee who understands these challenges and opportunities, not as obstacles that need to be overcome. It could be useful to pair a mentor who has experience in a particular area with someone who can grow and learn from their experience. Additionally, you can shadow team members on specific projects and assignments and take education courses offered in-house or by trusted outside providers.In order to put these general ideas into perspective, try applying them to Excel training since it has become a standard tool, both for personal use and in the business world. By using this spreadsheet icon proficiently, productivity can be considerably improved, and employee confidence.Reducing MistakesExcel training can reduce errors, such as lost data, and make your employees more efficient. Accurate and timely data is one of the most important advantages of Excel training. By using these tools properly, your employees and you will be able to track costs and see trends within the industry.Spreadsheets can certainly make it easier to find and use information when you need it. But unfortunately, some companies waste time looking for data, which could better be spent on making decisions based on the information. Excel's reporting features and summaries are some of its best features.Additionally, the software can be used as part of an overall presentation plan for your organization. With good training, you can learn to use Excel documents to prepare data and use graphs and charts to engage your audience in a presentation. This can be an invaluable tool for your company or organization if used correctly.If you are searching for the best training sessions for your employees, we welcome you to attend Excel’s webinars. At Excel Accountant Platform, you will get to learn about the amazing Excel tips and tricks that will help you in spreadsheets. Come and join us today for more updates and learning! Visit Now

How Can Excel Make Your Business Run More Successfully?

Excel is an accountant's best friend for managing basic accounting tasks (such as balance sheets and ledgers). But, can Microsoft Excel still live up to the hype in a world of innovative technologies?Yes, and it completely depends on the requirements of your accounting and finance firms.Excel is the tool that you need to standardize the process of work and quickly complete the task.Throughout this article, we will discuss the following points regarding the use of Excel in small businesses.·       Why do small businesses use Excel?·       What are the benefits and features of Excel?Why do small businesses use Excel?Using Excel for small-business accounting has changed considerably over the past few years, so before we dive into its features and benefits, it's important to comprehend how Excel's use has changed.Small business finance managers continue using Excel as one of their most common accounting tools. Small businesses usually have fewer financial data and use less of it than large corporations, so Excel allows them to focus on basic accounting activities, such as budgeting and forecasting.What are the benefits and features of Excel?Analyze financial datasets:This application helps you compare financial datasets like total accounts, payables, and receivables to calculate cash flow volume. Keeping track of recurring costs can give you a better idea of your business's finances. You can segment customers by size, location, or purchase to see which groups generate the most revenue.Create customized reports:Using template-based reports (including charts and tables) for tasks such as invoicing and estimating cash flow volumes. Customizations can be made to the reports as desired (such as adding multiple/different state sales tax rates) without requiring a new template.Automated data entry:Data entry is automated via macros in Excel (e.g., copying data from a primary source into a spreadsheet). It is possible, for example, to create a macro that will export invoice-related data from your CSV file and populate your Excel sheet with the applicable invoice management template.Key Excel features for small-business accounting:Based on the selection of cells in a table, pivot tables summarize complex datasets within Excel's "Insert" tab. Once filtered, the data within the pivot table can be viewed.Excel's "What-if analysis" feature lets you forecast results by varying datasets within a formula. Find it under the "Data" menu. This feature lets users modify data without removing it from the main dataset and testing new results.Using forecast sheets, users can forecast data trends based on historical values, which are available in the same menu as "what-if analysis". Instead of simply changing the value of a cell, a trend is predicted in a graphical format.4 Recommendations for using Excel for small-business accountingConsider these points if you use (or intend to use) Excel for accounting in your small business.1.     Ensure that Excel is the program you want. Do not forget that there are other accounting and spreadsheet options if this article is too complicated or not quite what you're looking for.2.     Learn about the templates offered by Microsoft. If you need an accounting or bookkeeping template, you can find them online by searching for Microsoft's offering. View Microsoft-customized Excel sheets here. You can easily customize the template according to your needs (e.g., estimating your budget monthly vs. quarterly, adding pivot tables, and including your logo).3.     Use online resources to guide you through the template-building process. Learn how to create and/or use a template from start to finish by viewing online articles and videos. In addition, Excel's interface will be explained, you'll learn additional functions you may want to use, and you'll have hands-on practice before using your data.4.     It is advisable to practice using Excel for accounting tasks, such as cash flow management, by learning from prefilled datasets. Practice makes perfect. Once your template is finalized, it is advisable to practice using it by bringing in prefilled datasets to ensure that you understand how it works before entering your data.Are you already using Excel and want to upgrade your Excel working skills? You landed at the right platform. Here, we will provide you with the best ways to use Excel.  

Use Excel Macros 4.0 Often? You could be vulnerable to cyber Attacks

Since 1992 Macros have been a part of Excel. Excel 4.0 macro or XLM 4.0 macro as it is otherwise known is a piece of its program that helps automates repetitive tasks in your spreadsheets. But, it is unfortunately a covert backdoor which has been often used for malware delivery. It has been increasingly used by hackers to store hidden excel malware as perpetual techniques of attack. What adds to the vulnerability of Excel 4.0 macros is it being an essential component of Excel’s core capability. Macros are so much embedded into regular business applications that they are very less likely to be disabled. Malware authors often exploit this fact and attempt sneaking malicious payload via macro codes into Excel sheets and deliver it mostly as email attachments. The threats around .IQY files .IQY files are not Excel spreadsheets, but rather text files associated with Excel. These text files store web query instructions for retrieving data from Microsoft Excel. Thus, Excel will launch if you open a .IQY file from an email attachment. These files are configured to download a PowerShell script that can in turn discreetly download malware. Start of the trend of Macro Attacks It was discovered by a number of cyber criminals towards the end of January 2020, and they launched a barrage of attacks (beside other techniques) during Mid-February targeting accountants. An infected sheet would land in your inbox, which contained malicious commands hidden in a formula. Upon downloading, the victim would be asked to click the ‘Enable Editing’ button. That triggered the malicious macro. Following the first attack, the threat actors continued to leverage this evasion technique to create more attacks that peaked between May to July 2020. The Stealth Technique There is a loophole in the form of Macros hidden in Excel Sheets. That is, the sheet is not readily accessible via the Excel UI and cannot be revealed without the help of an external tool. The hidden macros can be triggered through web queries or can be downloaded when a specific formula is executed. This loophole has been leveraged repeatedly to deliver malicious payloads via file uploads or email attachments and exploit system vulnerabilities to create new attack vectors. The cyber criminals leveraged the fear-based social engineering ploys, most commonly impersonating John Hopkins Center, sending emails with a subject “WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT”. The attached Excel files contained a hidden malicious macro that downloaded and ran NetSupport Manager RAT — an administration tool that allowed remote access. The victim was compelled to open and facilitated the attackers to gain remote access and run commands on compromised devices. In effect, the virus would even email itself to everyone within an affected user's Outlook contact list in some cases. This technique was so abused that Microsoft had to issue a public warning against it. How to protect against Malicious Macro Files With the rise of the Internet malware creators moving on from pedestrian Office documents to other methods for distributing viruses and malware, Microsoft has added security precautions to Excel. Using Protected View in Excel to safely open documents of uncertain provenance is the best way to protect yourself from such malware. Depending upon your settings, files you open from the Internet or email attachment may automatically launch into Protected View. When this mode is enabled you can safely view the spreadsheet, but you won’t be able to edit it until you click Enable Content. Similarly, any sort of external data connections are also disabled while the workbook is displayed in Protected View. Migrating to VBA Being aware of these exploits, Microsoft has been encouraging users to shift to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). The Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) paired with VBA can provide deep scrutinization of the macros’ behaviors in VBA, enabling the system to scan for suspicious macros and other malicious activities at runtime. Integrate AMSI with MS Office Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI)'s integration with Office 365 applications enables runtime scanning of macros, exposing malicious intent even with heavy obfuscation. This latest improvement to Office 365 allows modern endpoint security platforms like Windows Defender ATP to defeat macro-based threats. The best possible way to keep yourself protected is to avoid downloading anything that comes from an untrusted source. In addition to that, consult a Cyber security or an Excel Expert from time to time to keep yourself updated with the latest trending security updates in the business world.

Why do accountants love Excel?

‘Excel is an accountant's best friend.’ That’s no surprise given how much accountants rely on Excel to get their job done! Technology has transformed every aspect of our lives and accounting too is not left untouched. Arrival of computers heralded a new dawn for accountants. That’s because before computers, accountants would do calculations manually- with pen, paper and a calculator. But now, thanks to Microsoft Excel, complex and large accounting work (processing data, calculating heavy algorithms, creating spreadsheets etc.) happen much rapidly. Besides accounting departments, Excel is a hot favorite even with marketing, HR and management departments. Even those who don’t need it have at least heard of it or used it in school. MS Excel is ubiquitous on almost all computers but for accounting professionals, it plays an active role in daily operations. Why do accountants swear by Excel? The job of any accountant in a small or big company/ firm involves making complex calculations, storing large financial data and comparing it. They need to report such information through accurate graphs, charts and spreadsheets, as desired by the employer or client. All of these tasks can be swiftly performed on Excel. It is especially used in budgeting and planning Let’s take a look at what makes MS Excel accountants’ all weather friend. Easy to manage There are numerous functions in Excel that make handling and storing massive amounts of data effortless. These functions can be easily learned online. Furthermore, there are several kinds of charts, graphs and templates available. You can easily access that stored data years later too. Not only this, you can also collate different data sets to compare or predict. This is why even financial analysts choose MS Excel for financial risk management and investment tracking as well. Such is the prowess of Excel that virtually any action with respect to financial consequences can be executed accurately. Market Leader The financial analyses you must have seen in the form of spreadsheets, graphs and charts were most likely done using Excel. Such is its market dominance that you will find a plethora of online courses that teach you how to use Excel more efficiently. They are delivered by experts live or pre-recorded on a free or paid basis. Universally known Given its varied applications, a large number of schools include Excel in their education curriculum. So that even before you get your first job, you are already familiar with this program. All it takes then is how much deeper you delve into the world of Excel functions, tips and tricks. Amazing, but affordable Excel is cheaper than its competitors, but this does not mean it lacks any features. In fact, its detailed functionality and ease of use are second to none. It is perhaps the most consummate spreadsheet software available. Marvelous Macros Excel offers great help for large and complex accounting. With ‘macros’ feature, you can create automated calculations and other actions. It takes care of doing all the heavy calculation, data entry or creating datasets with the click of a button. You can also save it and apply as and when you need.

Why Does Investment Accounting Needs More Than Excel?

Excel is widely used by accountants daily. But that does not mean it is perfect! We have a whole another blog explaining pros and cons of Excel. Excel is used to store and analyze large sums of data. Its flexibility, agility and usability have made it popular. But the bottom-line is, Excel isn’t a specialized accounting program! There are some nagging issues when it comes to using Excel for accounting purposes: Lack of verification mechanism to assess accuracyNo double entryPoor numerical organization Limitation in validating the data Despite being the go-to tool for spreadsheets, it leaves a lot to be desired. Using it for complex accounting requires manual entry from many files and too many workarounds. Even though it offers pivot tables and cross-tab functions that aid organizing and processing data, it doesn’t help much if a number comes up wrong. It becomes cumbersome to track the wrong number and its underlying information. To put it succinctly, a spreadsheet is a list. It depends totally on manual input. As is the case with all things manual, it is prone to errors. Worse still, there aren’t efficient tools to locate the mistake. When/ if there is an issue, you will have to look for the right line in the right tab in the right spreadsheet. This will consume too much of your essential time. Additionally, it does not offer robust security controls or multi-level user verifications to ensure a secure interface. A specialized software is the need of the hour for accounting work. Such a software is designed to work with databases and organize information to help you process and manage data efficiently. These accounting software utilize the processing power of your computer and perform complex calculations and data manipulation with stunning accuracy and agility. They also accommodate direct feeds from numerous third-party systems to allow automated download of information, thereby, eliminating manual entry and vastly ameliorating the accuracy. What is more, they provide reporting and security options that Excel cannot compete with.A database driven accounting solution offers the following 3 advantages vis-a-vis accounting on MS Excel:Better recordsLocating, storing, documenting and reporting information should be as swift as possible to respond efficiently to client requests as well as meet complex regulations and tax requirements. That is imperative for effective accounting. Working on Excel requires you to sift through several tabs and files to find the information you want. With specialized accounting software driven by a database, you can do it effortlessly.Faster answersUndoubtedly, you know the importance of a quick response to a client’s query. With MS Excel, you may find yourself in a spot if you need to run a new report, locate the data in an existing report or sort the data differently. Here, a database software beats Excel hands down as it comes equipped with the tools to segregate the details and answer the query with all the facts and figures without breaking a sweat. This turnaround time will surely leave your clients awestruck and put you on a higher pedestal when it comes to customer satisfaction.Leverage compatibility with other technologiesLike every accounting firm, you too would be aware of the importance of easy export of data to software such as a general ledger, CRM, OMS or cash management system. This is vital to keep everyone involved on the same page. A database driven software works lucidly- it allows information to flow in as well as out using whatever form works best.Relying on Excel makes you work harder by executing unnecessary tasks that can be easily taken care of with efficient accounting software. Technology you employ for accounting should be compatible with existing processes to streamline work.

Essential Excel Skills to Help You Stand Out In Your Next Interview

Ask any accountant in any field which software they use on a daily basis, and the most common answer will be Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet tool is perfect for anyone working in the finance and accounting fields due to its versatility and specific financial applications.At this point, it’s expected that you are proficient in Microsoft Excel even in an entry-level position, which was part of the AICPA’s decision to include Excel as the spreadsheet tool in the CPA Exam. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the field for some time, being able to efficiently navigate through a data set in an Excel file and use formulas to make sense of the data should be one of your top priorities. To help you become an Excel user, we’ve put together a listing of the top 10 Excel skills you need to know if you’re going to excel in your accounting career1. Copy and PasteThis may seem like a rudimentary skill, but knowing how to copy and paste correctly can actually save you a fair amount of time. Excel has a variety of paste special options; you can paste formatting, paste the formula, paste the values, paste the validation, transpose, and various other options. If you don’t know how to use these correctly, you may spend time typing out individual formulas and values, or going through and changing the formatting of individual cells when you can simply utilize paste special.2. Sort and FilterKnowing how to accurately sort and filter is the gateway to data analytics. The sort feature allows you to sort a specific set of data by a specific column. The filter allows you to only see data lines that adhere to your filter or filters. This is perfect for accountants who work with large data sets and need to narrow them down to extract the correct information.3. Using the “Formulas” TabWhen you first start using Excel, the number of formula options available for data analysis can be overwhelming. Excel helps you to figure out what you need to use via the Formulas tab on the toolbar. This tab lets you search through every Excel function, as well as show you the most used formulas. It explains what a specific formula is used for and even walks you through how to set the formula up. It’s a great resource when you’re first learning the ins and outs of Excel formulas and is even useful once you jump into advanced formulas.4. Cell Reference FormattingCell referencing is referring to a specific cell in another cell or formula. Knowing how to reference cells correctly ensure your formulas and derived numbers make sense on your Excel spreadsheet. There are four types of cell references:A1 – Keep both row and column moveableA$1 – Keep row constant and column changeable. This helps when you want to drag a formula down a column.$A1 – Keep column constant and row changeable. This helps when you want to drag a formula across a row$A$1 – Keep both row and column constant. This helps when you want a formula to always reference a certain cell.5. Using F4 to Repeat the Last ActionThis is a nice timesaver that allows you to repeat the last action you took in a new cell or group of cells. For example, if you highlighted a cell yellow, you can select another cell and select F4 to highlight that cell yellow. As an accountant, you’ll constantly be updating the format of cells, adding formulas, and generally working toward the most readable and understandable format within your Excel sheet. This shortcut will help you quickly change things in your sheet without having to use your mouse or toolbar.6. Conditional FormattingThis allows you to set specific formats for the value within a cell. For example, if you’re trying to see if you have any blank numbers in a sales tax column, you can add conditional formatting to the column to say “if cell is empty, make cell color red.” Anomalies will easily stand out and you’ll quickly identify if something is wrong in your sales tax column. Conditional formatting can be used for a variety of purposes and knowing how to use it will help you quickly identify specific values in a data set.7. Graphs and ChartsVisually analyzing data is very helpful for accountants, especially if they’re presented with large data sets. While a table can show a vast array of data, a graph and chart can show what the data actually means; trends may surface that wasn’t easily identifiable in a table format. Accountants who are proficient in using graphs and charts in Excel can visually communicate data both internally within the organization and to clients in a more effective way.8. VLOOKUPWhen I started my first job in public accounting, it became increasingly clear that I needed to learn how to use a VLOOKUP. This formula helps you find data in a range of cells by row. For example, say you have a large data sheet with names and CPA Exam scores on it. You can use a VLOOKUP to find a specific score for a specific candidate on a specific exam. The basic formula looks at one field, but you can nest VLOOKUPs into SUMIF formulas or add field criteria to make them even more useful. This formula is especially helpful for analyzing large data sets, which is done in a variety of accounting positions, from data analysts to auditors.9. Pivot TablesOften considered an advanced Excel skill (but used often by accountants), pivot tables take your data and organize it for you so you can organize it in a variety of data tables. You can sum specific data, put specific line items in rows or columns, and only include the data you need. Pivot tables allow you to take a huge sheet of data and turn it into a readable format that allows you to draw conclusions from the data.10. Keyboard ShortcutsI was always jealous of colleagues who could use keyboard shortcuts; they could navigate between sheets, re-format cells, and add formulas without lifting a finger to put on the mouse. The best part about keyboard shortcuts is they increase your efficiency and reduce the time it takes you to do a task in Excel. As accountants, we work in Excel pretty consistently every day. Using shortcuts will help you cut down on the time it takes to complete tasks while also making you the envy of all of your friends.If you haven’t jumped into mastering MS Excel skills, now is the perfect time to start. Excel Accountant offers a wide range of NASBA Approved Excel Courses, which can be purchased as a standalone course. Either way, Excel is a powerful tool, and learning it will be invaluable to your career. Taking a course now will help you become an asset in any accounting profession as you continue or start your accounting career.

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