August 7, 2019

Are You Creating Reports Each Month in Excel?

Small Business
Ronald B. Allen


To manage your business effectively, you need reports that are complete, readable, and provide insights that you can use to improve operations. Many small businesses start out by using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to show breakdowns of income and expenses. But, as a business grows, accumulates more clients, adds employees, and more, a simple Excel spreadsheet is just not enough. Are you creating reports each month in Excel? Here are some of our thoughts on the subject.

Why Do You Do Reports?

You do your bookkeeping and produce reports to see if you are making money. And, you should be looking at how you can make more money by cutting unnecessary expenses and increasing funding for the parts of your business that are bringing in the income. But, all too often, reports are just lists of details with a sum at the bottom of each column of figures. You really can “miss the forest because of all of the trees” as the old adage goes. Because you want to use your reports to gain insights into your business and improve the bottom line, you really need to take advantage of tools that provide business intelligence. This is the term used for the tools (software applications and technologies) that collect, integrate, analyze, and effectively present the information you need to most profitably run your business. If you are creating reports each month in Excel, you might consider learning to use the PivotTable function.

Excel PivotTables

If you are already creating reports each month in Excel, itis only a short step to use the PivotTable function. Basically, a PivotTable lets you find and extract significant information from a large set of data and then present it in a concise and actionable format. The table you produce can be a simple “one-dimensional” list of data extracted from the larger dataset. Or it can be “two dimensional” withboth columns and rows of important data. Working in Excel, you can design the PivotTables that you want to hightlight the data that would otherwise be hidden within a large data set. And, if this solution helps you with better and more useful reports, you may want to move up one more step when creating reports each month in Excel.

Microsoft PowerPivot

PowerPivot is an add-on that comes with If you are already creating reports each month in Excel, it is only a short step to use the PivotTable function. Basically, a PivotTable lets you find and extract significant information from a large set of data and then present it in a concise and actionable format. The table you produce can be a simple “one-dimensional” list of data extracted from the larger dataset. Or it can be “two dimensional” with both columns and rows of important data. Working in Excel, you can design the PivotTables that you want to hightlight the data that would otherwise be hidden within a large data set. And, if this solution helps you with better and more useful reports, you may want to move up one more step when creating reports each month in Excel. PowerPivot is a true business intelligence tool that uses database language (SQL) to find, analyze, and present meaningful data from multiple sources. “Officially” PowerPivot is an “instance” of Microsoft Analysis Services (Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, SSAS for short). This tool is another step up from using PivotTables and allows you to generate sets of tables or multidimensional reports so that you can view financial information from a variety of “what if” scenarios.

Do you need help with your bookkeeping, accounting, or just the reports? If so, contact us at Exigo Business Solutions. We offer QuickBooks ProAdvisor services and are Certified Profit First Professionals and our passion is helping you keep the books right, generate insightful reports, and maximize your profits each and every bookkeeping cycle.

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