The problem isn't with Excel itself, but rather with the way we use it


Excel Academy: It's not about getting rid of Excel, it's about learning how to use it safely and efficiently.

According to the founder of Excel Academy Dan Stillerman, the biggest challenges for companies with regards to Microsoft Excel are that most people do not have fundamental proficiency with the programme. It is not being used in a smart, safe and efficient way, and people aren’t analysing their data effectively. 

Dan shares how most companies put themselves at a disadvantage by having one go-to guy. “You’ll often find that a company would have only one MS Excel guru and everyone ends up asking that one expert to do all the Excel work,” he says. “That’s not really sustainable, because if that expert leaves or can’t make it to work, the lack of Excel expertise in the organisation can cause a huge problem.”

Excel departure
Many argue that although Excel is very powerful and accessible, it is also full of risk. This is because if you don’t know how to work systematically with a spreadsheet, there is a good chance that things will go wrong. And things that go wrong on a spreadsheet can be very costly. 

“I wouldn’t blame the tool necessarily. Most people agree that Excel is an incredibly powerful and useful tool. The important thing is that it’s used for the right purposes and in a responsible way,” he says.

“I don’t think that MS Excel is a one-stop-shop for everything when running a business. I think it all depends on the type and scale of the business. What’s important to note is that Excel does have its limitations. It can be slow with large sets of data and formulas. It also has limited capacity – the number of rows in a spreadsheet is capped at just over one million. With that said, I do think Excel is and continues to be highly relevant and extremely useful as a business tool, but the onus is on the company to use it responsibly.”

Approach to training
Excel Academy has packaged its Excel training into three workshop levels, and deliver the material in a digestible and user-friendly way:

  • Excel 101 is the foundation workshop. It includes step-by-step guidance through Excel formulas, how to navigate efficiently around the Excel screen, how to present your data professionally, and how to save time by using keyboard shortcuts. 
  • Excel 202 involves advanced Excel skills, data analysis, reporting, dashboards, complex techniques such as VLOOKUP and IF statements, and PivotTables and PivotCharts. 
  • Excel 303 includes automation and streamlining through the use of macros and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications).

Excel Academy has transformed its workshop delivery model over the past few years. The model began as a set of three traditional, eight-hour on-site courses. This has now evolved into a unique “Gamified Blended” approach. 

Under this new approach, the first step is a one hour, introductory, kick-start session – either on-site or via live video call. This is an opportunity to explain everything – what’s covered in the workshops, how to navigate around the online platform, what’s expected of the delegates in terms of completion timeframes, provision of support and progress tracking, as well as the generous incentives on offer for successful and timely completion. 

After the kick-start session, delegates complete the training over a number of weeks via Excel Academy’s interactive online platform. The online platform includes videos, Excel exercises, quizzes and assessments, and facilitates a fun and engaging user experience. The blended approach allows for flexibility (learn when and where suits you) and for each person to learn at his or her own pace – a huge advantage when it comes to learning a technical skill like Excel. 

Excel Academy is proud to have impacted over 15,000 people over the past six years, and the team is excited to build on this in the years to come. Excel remains a critical skill needed in the workplace, and the team is passionate about helping people to use it in a smarter and more responsible way.

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