by Brad Hoffer
When most people think of an Excel Spreadsheet, they think of it as a computerized adding machine. However, when you start learning some of the advanced features, you realize that there are endless possibilities to make Excel do most anything you want. I remember when I first learned a few formulas in Excel and thought I “knew” Excel. Well, 15 years later and I am still learning new things all the time. Those formulas were like discovering a puddle of water beside a swimming pool and thinking that was the pool!At work I have used Excel to create some interesting programs that have solved some very complex problems. I always did my personal finances in Excel, but I never spent hours developing the spreadsheet as a program like I do at work. So about 4 years ago, I decided to tackle building the ultimate personal finance program in Excel. During this process, I have had plenty of doubters who did not understand why I was obsessed with building features into Excel that already existed in other programs. My answer, “those other programs are not Excel!” At the end of the day, most people who use any type of Accounting or finance program, end up exporting their information into Excel. Why? Excel is the best place to store, analyze and summarize data.
I am happy for the opportunity to tell you about the program I created: The xlyourfinances spreadsheet which I now sell at www.xlyourfinances.com
So what are some of the ‘advanced’ features built into the xlyourfinances spreadsheet vs. an ordinary spreadsheet? I have listed some of those features below. All of these features have two goals in mind, to save time and to give you control over your finances.
Time Saving Features:
1. With a click of a button, categories are automatically assigned to transactions based on past purchase history. By the way, you name your own categories.
2. Automatic removal of duplicate entries. When you download transactions from your bank or credit card company, they are verified against past purchase history and duplicates are automatically removed. This keeps your Current Balance in synch with your on-line statements.
3. Formatting and alignment. If you ever downloaded transactions from your bank or credit card company, you know how ugly some of these downloads can be. Downloaded transactions are easy to get into the correct format and alignment with one click column swapping and one click inversing of values when needed.
4. Summarized, Organized and Reconciled. By its design, xlyourfinances spreadsheet simultaneously summarizes your category totals, reconciles your accounts and completely organizes your finances.
Control of Your Finances:
Real-time budget results. Perhaps one of the best features is the simple but powerful design of the budget tool. You simply enter budget amounts for each category and the spreadsheet does the rest. Your actual spending is compared to your desired budget so you can see how you are doing for the month and year to date. And of course, you can go back in time to any year or month.
1. Cash Forecasting. The spreadsheet projects your day by day bank balance from the last posted transaction through the next 30 days based on your normal recurring and/or non-recurring activity. This gives you full confidence that you have all of your expenses covered.
2. Personal Financial Statement. Year to year, are your finances improving? The personal finance statement tab is an annual review of how you’re doing. Setting long-term goals and then seeing your progress is an essential component to gaining control over your finances.
3. Quick Research Tools. You can store virtually a lifetime of finances in one spreadsheet. It is very simple to filter thousands of transactions in an instant to find exactly what you are looking for.
If you own Excel and have a desire to get full control of your finances, go to www.xlyourfinances.com and get your personalized copy today
I have been an Auditor, Analyst, Accounting Manager, Business Systems Manager, Controller, School Board Vice President, Director of Finance and CFO over the past 19 years of work experience. In my free time I developed the XLYourFinances spreadsheet and website I enjoy golf and spending time with my family. We attend church at LCBC.