December 14, 2018

Excel

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Here Is Your New Favorite Excel Channel

So even though everyone and literally their mother have off, The Powers That Be insisted we publish a post today for the four of you weirdos reading accounting news on a holiday. Fine. I’ll comply as I don’t want to get fired from this stupid website again but only going so far as to share […]

excel reconciliations

Webinar: 5 Strategies for Streamlining Reconciliations in Excel

Hey there, accounting brethren. If you’ve emerged from your version of busy season unscathed and would like to squeeze in a little personal development, we recommend this free on demand webinar from our friends at FloQast: “5 Strategies for Streamlining Reconciliations in Excel.” It’s amazing how much time is wasted within accounting teams due to […]

Excel

More Than 30 Years After Its Debut, Many Controllers Still Head Over Heels for Excel

When Microsoft Corp. released its spreadsheet program, Excel for Windows (Excel 2.0), in late 1987, Lotus 1-2-3 was all the rage. “Among numbers-crunching accountants, corporate planners and business school students, the program has developed the kind of loyal following usually reserved for Madonna and the Boston Red Sox,” the New York Times wrote on Oct. […]

Accounting Excel 2019

Excel Is Finally Keeping Up With the Joneses

Two years have passed since I wrote a controversial post about ditching Excel. And as fate would have it, no one listened. We are as attached to Excel as ever. Maybe we like dealing with unruly and unresponsive files? But, those rumors about the AICPA integrating Excel into the CPA Exam have finally become a […]

excel championship

FYI, Aspiring Accountants: There’s a World Excel Championship

Finally, someone who will give you a trophy (and a sizable cash prize) for your unhealthy obsession with Excel. Certiport hosts an annual international Microsoft Excel championship. Accountants, everywhere, rejoice! Since, while generally, we are not the most athletically inclined (after all, we do spend a lot of time behind a desk), many of us […]

Accountants Should Dump Microsoft Excel for Database Software

Rumor has it that the AICPA is finally integrating Microsoft Excel into the CPA exam starting in 2018. I’ll admit my initial reaction is “it’s about time” since the generic spreadsheet I used was archaic. Apparently, almost 70% of the CPAs surveyed by the AICPA agreed. Go figure — we are all Excel-aholics who can’t get through the day without busting out a spreadsheet.

Now That The Cloud Is Mainstream, Where Do Hipster Accountants Go From Here?

Five years ago, hipster accountants were all over the cloud. We were working on clients’ books from coffee shops and Xero was this sketchy startup from New Zealand that no one had heard of. There were meetups and secret forums filled with the cloud elitists and, almost everyone in the scene had beards (except me, […]

ICYMI: AICPA Will Squeeze Excel Into the CPA Exam This Decade

The AICPA reports that Excel's ubiquity in the accounting profession caused a bunch of people to suggest, "use of Excel in the CPA Exam to create an authentic user experience." Accordingly, "The AICPA plans to launch a new testing interface utilizing Excel in 2018." If anyone has further concerns or feedback, send a raven. [AICPA]

Use Excel to Keep an Eye on Your BMI This Busy Season

Let’s assume that you’ve bought into the quantified-self craze. Your wearable technology measures every breath you take and every move you make, so now it's time for new frontiers, as in something other than the fast food drive-thru lane. It’s always easiest to start with low-hanging fruit, such as your co-workers. Body Mass Index is […]

How to Add a Nice Steaming Pile of Poo to Any Excel Spreadsheet

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. There may just be instances where nothing else will do in a set of audit work papers than a steaming brown pile of excrement. This is easy to add in the mobile versions of Excel, but you can also add emoji in the desktop […]

How to Convert Spreadsheets to PDF With the Push of Button

So you regularly create spreadsheet masterworks, but the thought of sharing the details of your genius makes you break out in hives. One way to separate the outputs from your inputs is to save spreadsheets as a PDF file. It’s not hard to do so by way of the File menu, if you don’t mind […]

Excel Can Help You Choose Where to Get a Meaty Lunch

The Internet’s viral sensation of August 2014 was an off-menu Arby’s sandwich known as the “Meat Mountain." For the low, low price of $10 you can get a stack of eight meats and two cheeses. I think even PETA has been too shocked to respond. And what exactly does this have to do with Microsoft […]

How to Transform Text in Excel

If you’re like most Excel users, you’re likely self-taught. Nothing wrong with that, I got here in the same fashion. However, from my perspective many users learn enough about Excel to wield it as a hammer when often more nuanced approaches are more appropriate. In this article I’ll give you several ways that you can […]

How to Turn Off Error Checking in Excel

Ed. note: this is third in an ongoing series to help you make the most out of Excel setting-by-setting. If you have a specific Excel demon to slay, you can get in touch for our resident white knight and Excel-slayer David Ringstrom to help you out. If you’ve implemented the changes that I’ve recommended in […]

Use AutoRecover in Excel to Save Your Spreadsheet From Yourself

Ed. note: this is second in an ongoing series to help you make the most out of Excel setting-by-setting. If you have a specific Excel demon to slay, you can get in touch for our resident white knight and Excel-slayer David Ringstrom to help you out.   In Part 1 of this series I noted […]

Here’s Why You Don’t Want Excel on Your iPad

When Excel for iPad finally arrived, my first impression was here we go, yet another 1.0 Microsoft product *insert eye roll here*. As you might expect, Excel for iPad only offers a small fraction of the functionality available in the desktop versions of Excel, but I realized it’s unfair to call it a 1.0 product. […]

Going Concern March Madness: AND Then There Were Two LEFT in the Ultimate Excel Bracket

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of Excel functionality…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat. The cyber-drama of spreadsheet competition…This is Going Concern’s Ultimate Excel Bracket!

Going Concern March Madness: FIND your Final Four in The Ultimate Excel Bracket

¡Ay, caramba! Our field of 64 has funneled to the Final Four:
Keyboard Shortcuts: #2 Seed Ctrl-Z vs. Other Excel Features: #6 Seed Format Painter
Worksheet Functions: #10 Seed VLOOKUP vs. Data Analysis Tools: #12 Seed Filter
There’s only one more round before the final face off. Here’s how the strong have survived:

Going Concern March Madness: Only Eight EXCEL-lent Features Remain in the Ultimate Excel Bracket

We've reached the home stretch of brackets season and we're about to crown four spreadsheet saviors in each of our Ultimate Excel bracket regions. By this point in the tournament you know these contenders well enough so we'll dispense with any further pleasantries. Plus, since we're talking about features of a computer program, there are […]

Ultimate Excel Bracket Round 3: The Great Eight

Oh, snap! #1 seed Pivot Tables is out! Here’s a rundown of the standings: Worksheet Function#10     VLOOKUP#13     LEFT Keyboard Shortcut#1    Ctrl-S#2     Ctrl-Z Data Analysis Tools#2     Table#12     Filter Other Features#6     Format Painter#8     Format Cells Don’t get too comfortable folks, only half of these contenders will advance to the Final […]

Excel-lent April Fool’s Pranks For the Hated Spreadsheet Jockey in Your Life

With a few subtle changes, you can ruin someone’s day. No, you’re not wasting company time, you’re testing your colleague’s Excel moxy. Feel free to charge prank time as “training” if necessary.

Going Concern March Madness: COUNT the Sweet Sixteen in the Ultimate Excel Bracket

There’s no time to waste worrying about how the weepy fans of Text Box or MATCH/INDEX are feeling, there are 16 SWEET Excel contenders ready to battle it out to see who will move on to their respective regional championship match-ups.

Going Concern March Madness: Get SUM in Round 2 of the Ultimate Excel Bracket

We had a nice mix of upsets, domination and disappointment (I'm looking at you, Goal Seek!) in the first round of the Ultimate Excel Bracket. If you're just getting acquainted with this spreadsheet battle royale, then check out the results in the Functions and Key Shortcuts and Data Analysis and Other Features regions to catch up. You can also read analysis from our resident Excel expert David Ringstrom.

Going Concern March Madness: Recap of Data Analysis and Other Features

Annnnnnddd we’re back with the second half of your winners from Round 1 of Going Concern March Madness: The Ultimate Excel Bracket. This time Data Analysis Tools and Other Excel Features duked it out amongst themselves, with these features advancing to the second round (see the first batch of winners here):

Going Concern March Madness: Recap of Excel Functions and Key Shortcut Winners

Ladieees and gentlemen (yes, we’re using those terms loosely), here are your winners from Round 1 of Going Concern March Madness: The Ultimate Excel Bracket. The games began when Worksheet Functions and Keyboard Shortcuts squared off within their respective regions: FUNCTIONS #1     MATCH/INDEX#2     IFERROR#3     SUBTOTAL#6     SUMIF#8   […]

Going Concern March Madness: The Most EXCELlent Bracket Continues

Hello again, spreadsheet fanatics. Have you returned for Excel battle royale? Of course you have. If you're just getting caught up, be sure to go to our post from yesterday to vote in the Functions and Key Shortcuts regions.

Going Concern March Madness: The Ultimate Excel Bracket

Your firm may be able to stop you from streaming March Madness on company-owned devices or with company-owned bandwidth, but they can’t stop you from participating in Going Concern March Madness!

How to Use Excel to Manage March Madness

File this under: things you must know as a spreadsheet jockey and sports fan.

RSVP: Learn About Charts in Excel on March 25th

Event Date: March 25, 2014 In this session Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares numerous techniques that you can use to work with charts more efficiently. David will provide detailed handouts specific to these versions of Excel: Excel 2013 Excel 2010 Excel 2007 Excel 2003 Who Should Attend:All practitioners who may benefit from using […]

How To Be a Master of Excel From the Master of Excel

You can go complain to the bartender about your problems or you can come over here and let us take a stab at making everything all better. No matter your trouble, we're here for you, just reach out. GC, 

So I interned at a Big 4 firm this summer in Advisory and was fortunate enough […]

It’s Form 1040, In Excel—Need I Say More?

You people with a predilection for tax forms. At least you’re not Glenn Reeves, the guy who has slavishly recreated Form 1040 in Microsoft Excel for the past 17 years. Sick of Lacerte, ATX, Creative Solutions, and their ilk? Figure out how deep the gubmint’s hand is going in your pocket in a spreadsheet instead. […]

Resolve to Use Excel Your Way – Part 1

Ed. note: we really like David, the Excel guy, and we hope you will, too. He does webinars over on AWeb that we hope you will find useful but if not, he might drop some Excel wisdom around here for you guys if you treat him right. Please give him a proper GC welcome (and […]

RSVP: Learn About Pivot Tables for Free on January 30

Following up on the success of his popular High Impact Excel session, this time around David H. Ringstrom, CPA turns his attention to pivot tables. In one hour you'll learn how to whip unwieldy data into shape, and then quickly build meaningful reports by dragging and dropping with your mouse. David will also discuss techniques […]

How To Make a List and Check It Off Twice (In Excel)

Our brother from another mother over at AccountingWEB, David Ringstrom is a CPA and Excel wizard. It's not too late to join him for his December 19th webinar "High Impact Excel," which is worth 1 CPE credit and ∞ Excel expertise. Today, David is kicking down wisdom on how to use strikethrough in Excel… you […]

RSVP: Free Excel CPE on December 19

Listen, it's December, it's not like you have anything better to do. Also: FREE Via AccountingWEB: Event Date: December 19, 2013 In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares dozens of tricks that he uses to fly through Excel every day. Detailed handouts with numbered steps will be provided for the following […]

[NSFW] This One Guy Made a Spreadsheet of His Sexual Encounters

Normally something like this would be too racy even for us but we might as well throw caution to the wind and post it anyway because it's also a roundabout way to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS research and prevention which is a cause I support. I have warned you once and I will warn you […]

Excel Art is a Thing, Apparently

I'm sure many of you consider yourselves more than mere spreadsheet jockeys, rather true spreadsheet artistes, manipulating one of Microsoft's finest products to satisfy your need for domination over data. And that's OK. But unless you have way too much time on your hands, you're never going to get to this level of Excel artistry. […]

Has Microsoft Excel Ruined the World?

This isn't a breaking news story or anything but since our Google Alert for "Microsoft Excel" is filed in the same folder as "Lotus Notes," we sort of didn't get right on this story when it came out earlier this month. Thankfully most of you were drinking yourselves into a post-busy season coma and probably […]

This Guy Can’t Hold a Pencil But He Has a Spreadsheet of the 6,000 Chinese Restaurants He Has Eaten At

Oh, and we're telling you about him because he is a lawyer/CPA: He doesn't use chopsticks, he doesn't like eggrolls, and his wife thinks the whole idea is "silly," but third-generation Chinese American David R. Chan has made a point of eating at almost 6,300 Chinese restaurants across the country over the course of 33 […]

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival Has a Champion (And Some of You May Need a Sponsor)

Bracket season came to close yesterday afternoon on Going Concern and your Busy Season Survival champion is none other than booze. Hooch. The Sauce. Firewater. Whatever your flavor, alcohol managed to overcome it all to win GCBSSF&BvsT. Yes, those of you who cry busy season tears into beers managed to outnumber the BYU alums, CPAs […]

Going Concern March Madness: The Busy Season Survival Final — Booze vs. Excel, There Can Be Only One

Finally, the champions of the two Busy Season Survival regions — Food & Bevvie and Tech — will meet to crown the ultimate winner of GCMMBSSF&BvsT. It's been a memorable tournament unless you've been committed to Team Booze in practice as well as voting. From coffee's disappointing performance to an inspired run by Email to the exciting […]

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, The Sweet Sixteen

If you picked upsets in your NCAA Mens bracket and all the favorites in your GCMMBSSF&BvsT bracket, then you're in pretty good shape today. My hunch is that you went for the opposite strategy.

While favorites Excel and coffee had no problems and the wins by Bagels and Key Shortcuts were very satisfying, the loss by Someone Else's Hotpocket from the Freezer was devastating. DEVASTATING. 

With Turkey Day Ahead, Here Are 10 Things For Which The Profession Should Be Thankful

As we all pull up a chair at our respective dysfunctional family tables and enjoy the sacrifice of innocent turkeys and can-shaped cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, let’s all take a moment to express thanks for the things that have kept all of us (including those of us who get to write about this exciting stuff for a “living”) in a job.

The Very First Microsoft Excel Ad Was Even More Clairvoyant Than Anyone Could Have Known

Human beings spend, on average, a third of their lifetime sleeping. They spend six total years eating, four years cleaning the house and a little over a year on the toilet.  If only someone would do a study to determine how many years the average spreadsheet jockey spends with their nose buried in multiple Excel […]

Latest CFO Survey Results Reveal a Whole Lot of Information That Will Make You Shrug with Indifference

Take it away, Robert Half!  In the latest survey, 5% of executives said they plan to add personnel and 6% said they expect job cuts in accounting and finance. In other words, everyone's just sitting around like boobs. What else is going on? Finding the right people is hard! Finding qualified talent remains a problem […]

Do Regional Firm Accountants Have Better Excel Skills Than Their Big 4 Counterparts?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

I was having a discussion with a colleague concerning the Excel skills in industry versus public accounting. We agreed that, generally speaking and based on surveys of class participants in our respective Excel CPE classes, industry users are more advanced than public accounting users. Within public accounting, regional firm users are more advanced than local and Big 4 users. Why is that?

We had one computer for about 150 professional staff when I started out in Big 8 public accounting oh so long ago. Back then we were the cutting edge in spreadsheet use. We were consulting with our clients on how to use Visicalc to increase productivity and reduce errors. So how did the Big 4 apparently slide to the bottom of the scale?

Theory number one holds that the Big 4 does all their training from within. They take someone who has perceived advanced skills, and use that person to teach everyone else what they know. The problem is that the in-house trainer may not know some of the advanced features in Excel that would be useful to the group. The trainer may only know slightly more than everyone else. My own experience with selling Excel to a Big 4 firm is that they feel it would be nice to know more about Excel, but it’s not imperative to the job. Rather it is better to focus CPE resources on IFRS or the latest tax code changes.

Theory number two says that associates in the Big 4 are focused in on their in-house proprietary audit software which doesn’t allow incorporating new ideas into the audit process like pivot tables or form control objects. Stick to the audit program because there is no room in the budget to experiment with Excel.

Now that I’m done ragging on the Excel skill level in the Big 4 remember I said at the beginning of the post “generally speaking” and I know there are excellent Excel users in the Big 4. I just haven’t met them yet.

A Young Analyst Wants to Know How to Become a Spreadsheet Rockstar

Welcome to the final-humpless-hump-day before the end of tax season. In today’s edition, an analyst and prospective CMA wants to know how to best improve his spreadsheet skills to the point where they’ll jump out of the screen a do a little jig. Aside from reading the Excel manual, how does one go about this?

Is your career in neutral (or reverse)? Do you need advice on how to cope with a hellish travel schedule? Are you frustrated with a co-worker to the point that eating them seems like a decent option? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll recommend a nice wine.

Back to our wannabe spreadsheet sage:

Hi Going Concern,

I read your small firm accountant blog post with interest and just had to write in. The post states, “…and if you work at a firm where three years are required for promotion, you’ll really become a junior spreadsheet rockstar.”

In short, how do you recommend becoming a spreadsheet rockstar? My Excel skills are satisfactory but I certainly see room for improvement when it comes to analyzing data faster and presenting it better. What do you recommend in terms of specific exercises, resources, books etc?

About me: I’m an analyst (on the slow path to becoming a certified management accountant) at a large bank with around 40,000 staff in total and I’ve been here just over six months. It is my first full time role out of university.

Cheers,
Aspiring Spreadsheet Rockstar

Dear ASR,

So you want to be a David Lee Roth of Microsoft Excel? As a young number cruncher this is a worthy goal. This question will not make for good happy hour convos so you’ve come to the right place; we’ll get you going in the right direction.

The first resource you have at your disposal are the Excel wizards at your workplace. You’ve probably noticed who the savvy spreadsheet users are, so ask them if they wouldn’t mind walking you through pivot tables, vlookups, whatever. The trick is to figure out who actually takes pride (yes, they’re out there) in their spreadsheet skills and to ask them for a little bit of their time to show you the ropes…er, cells. More than likely they’ll be thrilled to show off their skills and bestow wisdom on a newbie. If they balk, just start rumors around the office about how they smell like mens locker room.

If asking a fellow working stiff isn’t an option, then it might be worth your time to see if your internal training curriculum offers advanced Excel courses. An employer of your size may have some decent options but if they don’t, look around for some external classes and submit the cost for reimbursement. I’d be surprised if an employer such as yours wouldn’t be willing to spring for a little self-spreadsheet improvement.

If you’re more of a self-study type, jump over to our British sister from another mister site, AccountingWEB UK, and check out all the tips they have to offer. That’ll keep you busy for awhile.

One other thing you can practice and learn on your own is using key shortcuts. This will allow you to cruise around Excel quicker and it will make you more productive. Lifehacker has a few that will get you started but if you’re stumped it’s a simple as asking Google. Rock on.