"Expert Interview with Brad Hoffer of XLYourFinances on Expert Excel Tricks"
XLYF's Brad Hoffer took a moment to tell us about the spreadsheet, some possible applications, and ways to save time and money with some black belt Excel kung fu.
Can you tell us a little bit about XLYourFinances? When did you get started? What prompted you to start your own company?
XLYourFinances is a Microsoft Excel personal finance spreadsheet. I have used Excel virtually every day for the past 15 years in the various jobs I have had as an accountant. This has allowed me to learn some of the advanced programming capabilities that exist in Excel in order to build user-friendly spreadsheets to solve complex problems and processes.
As I would learn tricks at work, I would incorporate them into my personal finance spreadsheet. In 2009, I decided to tackle making my spreadsheet "unbreakable" so that others could use it as well. This process took a lot longer than expected; and by the time I put together instructional videos and created a website, it was towards the end of 2010.
I have always wanted to have my own company, but had never found something that I had enough passion about to pursue. Personal finance is definitely something I have passion about, so it made sense to create the spreadsheet and the website, and start helping people with their finances.
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In that same post, you also talk about a bunch of really useful time-saving tricks on Excel. Can you share a couple of these tricks with us?
The ultimate source for learning tricks in Excel is www.mrexcel.com. I recently supported Bill Jelen's (founder of mrexcel) campaign on Indiegogo. He raised $25,183 to publish his 40th book titled, 'MrExcel XL Book - 40 Greatest Excel Tricks'. I am excited for the opportunity to contribute tips and tricks for this book. With that said, if I had to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to get to the next level in Excel, I would say to learn the 'SUMIF' function. Once you master how this function works, you can start doing some really cool things in Excel.
Any other advice or encouragement for people looking for financial freedom this year?
There is an ancient saying by Ahikar that goes, "I have hauled sand, I have carried salt, but nothing is heavier than debt." Being in debt is kind of just a way of life for a lot of us. I think making a commitment to get out of debt is one of the best things you can do. I'm not as worried about our mortgage, which is for a house that typically retains its value. I am concerned about our credit card debt, where we are buying things we cannot afford and then paying them off over time. When you use your credit card, make sure that you can pay it off in full each month, and make sure that you are spending less than you are making.
In summary, it is difficult to make positive changes which is why I love this quote from Robin Sharma ... "All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end."
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I have been an Auditor, Analyst, Accounting Manager, Business Systems Manager, Controller and Director of Finance over the past 15 years of work experience. In my free time I developed the XLYourFinances spreadsheet and website. I serve my community as the Vice President of the school board and enjoy golf and spending time with my family. We attend church at LCBC.