When was the last time you used Excel?

I only ask because everyone knows technology is moving fast. New software and applications seem to emerge every month and aim to be the ‘next best thing’ for productivity or performance.

Microsoft Excel has been around for more than 30 years so you might think it would be outdated or have been crushed by a fresh-faced rival.

But it’s still going strong – and remains popular with so many people.Maintaining an Excel-lent Reputation

Why is that?

One obvious reason is that Microsoft never sits still. It continually looks to update and improve its applications. It has got much better at listening to its customers and introducing the features and functionality they are looking for.

The Excel you use today still offers the core of the original, but it looks and works better.

For the new user, it is easy to learn. My online courses show you how to grasp the essentials and handle more advanced features.

Excel is easy to use. It’s widely used. This means people are familiar with it, they feel comfortable with it. They are used to seeing and working with files with the classic look of rows and columns.

Knowing how to use Excel – including its advanced and more collaborative features – is a highly marketable skill for a VA. Most organisations use the application for something.

The list of areas and tasks it can be used for includes:

  • Accounts
  • Finance
  • Contacts List
  • Content Planning
  • Data Entry
  • Data Storage
  • Data Analysis
  • Research
  • Reports
  • Dashboards
  • Charts
  • Marketing Trends
  • Revenue Patterns and Growth Models
  • Sales Forecasts
  • Budgets
  • Expenses
  • Discount Calculations
  • Inventory
  • PNL sheets
  • Task and ‘To Do’ lists
  • Project Planning
  • Project Timelines

Excel is probably best known for its ability to work with accounts and numbers. There is no need for extra, complex software or having to wait for an IT person to show you how to work things.

Maintaining an Excel-lent ReputationIt makes it easy to work with figures, do simple calculations and present the information in an easy-to-view form.

Excel is not only available on your desktop or laptop, you can now view an app version on your mobile or tablet. This makes it easier to work, wherever you are.

The application is not perfect but it for many users it is a reliable, flexible and efficient tool for getting the job done.

Microsoft has made it more collaboration-friendly and more able to link and integrate with other data management or research software.

As a VA, the expectation from clients these days is you would have Essential Excel Skills at the very minimum. As I’ve said before, Excel has been out for a long time now and ‘Office’ applications are something people presume you’ll be confident in using.

If you’re doing a lot of work with data and numbers, you may find it worth picking up my How to Create Excellent Spreadsheets online training.

It’s a demo I have delivered at events like The PA Show in Olympia, The PA Show Manchester and the Practically Perfect PA Online Summit.

It covers how to create a list automatically, use Flash Fill and get your head around formulas with Autosum. I also show you how to do conditional formatting, pivot tables, charts and graphs.

If you read a post or article which says “Excel is Dead”, there’s probably an ulterior motive behind it. The stats are clear.

Microsoft Excel is very much alive. As long as organisations keep faith in it you will find there is a demand for VA’s who know how to use it well.

Shelley Fishel