Most Useful Excel Functions for Small Businesses

June 14, 2022

It would be uncomfortable and intimidating for many people in the workplace when asked to do something that’s related to Microsoft Excel. From the complicated formulas to the endless columns and rows of numbers, you could easily lose a whole afternoon staring at spreadsheets. However, Excel is incredibly useful and flexible when you are dealing with data and it has been around since the 1980s. You can use Excel for a lot of essential business processes without spending high prices on special software that isn't necessary for small businesses. There’s so much that Excel can do for your business from accounting to project management to HR and payroll. Here are some of the ways your business can use Excel:

Accounting and Finance

Accounting and finance professionals will already be familiar and used to Excel, but they might not be aware of everything Excel can do for them when using the right templates and formulas. For example, an effective cash flow forecast spreadsheet can be easily created using Excel. This would be quite a useful tool for small businesses that don’t want to run into financial troubles. Simply include your monthly opening balance, income, expenditures and closing balance and you’ll be able to track your cash flow then find any suspicious trends before they become a huge problem. You can also create a profit and loss statement in Excel by inputting the total budget, revenue, costs and taxes.

HR and Payroll

Most larger companies rely on specialized software, but if you're a small business who has a small number of staff on payroll, Excel can be the solution for you. All you need is some information like each employee's wage and tax information, vacation, overtime and sick pay details. Excel can then calculate your employees’ wages each month. It can also create pay stubs if you need it. You can even use a vacation planner in Excel so you can ensure you’re not understaffed during busy periods. Not to mention, there are several Excel formulas available to locate a single employee within the entire employee database.

Organization & Project Management

The timecard templates in Excel can be used for project management purposes by tracking how much time has been spent on tasks, and to help accurately charge clients for completed work. There is a lot more project management tasks you can use Excel for, such as setting priorities, and tracking progress and hours used up in one simple spreadsheet. In addition, you can use Excel to manage and forecast your budgets. All in all, you won’t need to spend extra money on buying special software to complete these tasks!

Inventory & Equipment

Every business has equipment, ranging from desks and computers to lawnmowers or ovens. Everything needs to be tracked in terms of condition and value, so the right decision can be made when equipment needs to be maintained or replaced. It can all be done with a spreadsheet. The depreciation in value of your equipment or inventory can also be tracked over time using the straight-line or double-declining balance method. Excel can also be really useful when dealing with tracking inventory in a warehouse. It gives a nice overview of when to order new items by including figures, such as unit prices, quantity in stock, and reorder levels.

Excel Tips & Tricks

Here are some useful tips.

  • Use AutoFill to fill adjacent cells automatically: click and hold the lower-right point of the cell and drag it where you want it and it will fill them automatically
  • Conditional formatting: use to highlight important values- Home> Conditional formatting
  • Use Flash Fill to automatically fill your data: After putting your source data and establishing a pattern you want to follow, add a new column next to it. Click on the next cell and press CTRL+E to run Flash Fill, and it will identify the pattern and complete it
  • Use forecasting: Data> Forecast> Forecast Sheet and you’ll be able to forecast your financial future

Want to learn more Excel tips? Find more info here

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