If you are looking to create a report in Excel, I recommend taking a read of this conversation I had on LinkedIn. This brief conversation will give you some insight as you continue with your future Excel courses.
Message I got from a LinkedIn contact: Hi Pete here, I work as a financial analyst, I’m not very creative do you have any tips for how I can make my charts look professional? Here’s my response:
Well Pete, the first thing is to NOT make your charts look ‘professional’. Thanks. Next question.
Okay, you want some more explanation I suppose. Here you go:
First, ask yourself ‘did someone say your charts are unprofessional? Or is it just a self-criticism of your own creativity? Perhaps you saw someone on ‘America’s next Dashboard’ producing a beautiful 3D chart and got a bit jealous?!
Did someone at work ask you? In my career only once did someone ask me to pretty up a report and within two years I out ranked that person.
Serious people, who become leaders don’t want Nicki Minaj-esque charts, they want decision making insight. All the shiny bright creativity will distract from the message and numbers. Our Excel courses will show you how to accomplish this with advanced and beginner Microsoft Excel training.
If you’re going to spend your time to create a report in Excel, take it from someone who’s done a million of them and teaches Excel lessons. Here’s how you split your time when putting it together:
- 20% gathering data & putting it together (this comes down to 1% if you have Excel/PowerPoint VBA).
- 20% Extracting insights.
- 20% following up with inputting stakeholders if there are concerns.
- 10% proofing and printing off (those pesky printers never work when you want them to..grrr!).
- 10% prepping your Boss/MD/Exec on it.
If you are a keen observer, you might have counted a total of 80%! This is not an error, but what about the remaining 20%? Well, the secret is that you do nothing! I’ll leave the idea for another Excel training blog but understand this, you don’t want to obsessively get caught up in perfecting a report. Get it out there quickly, as often the data will become stale very quickly. You often have a small window.
Going back to the report, don’t forget this one important idea which causes people to get distracted and overwhelmed when looking to create a report in Excel. Lots of options and features which each new version of Excel bring are Microsoft’s way to show commitment to the consumer that they are still developing their product and maintain consumer confidence and ultimately spreadsheet market dominance.
That tangent aside, I do think Microsoft deserve their market share, but the extra functionality is mostly unnecessary and distracting, especially so for corporate professionals.
Excel Courses Will Have You Making Perfect Reports
Excel courses don’t emphasize a lot flashiness and eyesore graphics. Leave the fancy charts and widgets and make basic but neat and conversational outputs the next time you create a report in Excel. Like this idea of minimalist reporting here, there is a lot of experience that goes in to our Excel classes so sign up and move closer to becoming an Excel expert.