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10 Common Spreadsheet Mistakes You’re Probably Making

10 Common Spreadsheet Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Spreadsheets are a stable in the business world. If you work anywhere in money, finances, business, or anything similar to those then you likely use a spreadsheet. They’re even used in the military to keep track of supplies. With so many people in so many industries using spreadsheets, you would imagine that people make a lot of errors. Correct! Here are ten common spreadsheet mistakes that you’ve probably made before.

common spreadsheet mistakes

    1. Mistakes in spreadsheet logic

    Spreadsheets are notoriously strict with things like order of operations. If you don’t type your equations and formulas in properly, you will get the wrong math which can wreck an entire spreadsheet. Thankfully there is something you can do about that and it’s simply a matter of using more parenthesis. Put parts of your equations in them in order to get the desired effect.

    common spreadsheet mistakes

      2. Misuse of built-in functions

      A single wrong letter in a function can change its entire meaning. For instance, AVERAGE will ignore all text and false entries. AVERAGEA converts all text and false entries to zero. That one letter can totally change the outlook and values in your spreadsheet. Companies have misused functions and had wrong values in their spreadsheets for years and it caused damage of millions of dollars. If you’re using a function, then double check to make sure you’re using the right ones.

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      common spreadsheet mistakes

        3. Not copying all the cells you need

        When you work with spreadsheets, there can be a lot of copying and pasting. It’s a very common problem that people don’t select all the cells they need to copy and paste into the next workbook. If you don’t, you’ll have missing information. That can cause a lot of problems if it isn’t caught. Since spreadsheets can get ridiculously big, this is actually harder than it sounds. If you have 15 years of financial history and you only copy ten years of it, you may not catch that right away.

        common spreadsheet mistakes

          4. Keep your data entry and formula cells separate

          Formula cells and data entry cells should never be anywhere near each other. The reason for this is relatively simple. If you put values in the formula cells that are supposed to be in the data entry cells and vice versa, then you can seriously mess up your books. When you keep them separate, you run little risk of mixing the two up and that keeps your books and your bosses happy.

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          common spreadsheet mistakes

            5. Save only when you need to

            This one seems odd but it’s true. You should only save when you need to. This bit of advice flies right in the face of the oft-told advice to save frequently. Here’s why you should only save when necessary. Assuming you hadn’t made a mistake up to the point when you opened a saved spreadsheet, you went through the project with a spreadsheet without a mistake. If you make a mistake and save it for a bunch of times, then your mistake gets saved and you won’t be able to recover your flawless copy later. Thus you should only save when you know what you just did was correct.

            common spreadsheet mistakes

              6. Create new spreadsheets if you want to experiment

              If you want to play around with your spreadsheets, you should make a copy and alter that instead. You should never tinker with your main spreadsheets because you could lose your original copy in the event that you accidentally saved. To avoid what could be a cataclysmic mistake, do yourself a favor and keep copies.

              common spreadsheet mistakes

                7. Give new cells a range name

                Range names can help you keep things organized. You can sort by range name and it helps you find information more quickly. It only makes sense that if you create new cells that you should give them a range name. Not giving new cells a range name can limit how they’re sorted and searched which can make them hard to find. You’d be surprised how many people add new cells to a huge spreadsheet and don’t give them range names. It makes things cluttered and more difficult to work with.

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                common spreadsheet mistakes

                  8. Delete range names when you delete all of its cells

                  You should also delete range names when you delete all of its cells and it’s for exactly the same reasons as number seven. When you make major changes to your spreadsheet, you need to update everything around the change in order to ensure proper documentation. Not doing so can cause others to re-enter information that was supposed to be deleted and can also hinder things like searching and sorting.

                  common spreadsheet mistakes

                    9. Check your math

                    This seems like an obvious mistake but it’s absolutely essential. A company named Fidelity once had their books messed up by $2.6 billion over a silly minus sign. You can imagine what effect this had with investors and with the company’s higher ups. One tired night and you tap the minus sign on accident and you can make your company look like it has gained $1.3 billion more than it actually earned. Make sure you check even the most basic arithmetic you perform.

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                    common spreadsheet mistakes

                      10. Have someone double check your work

                      Most of the largest mistakes made in the world of spreadsheets came from people not double checking their work. This mistake is then transferred up the chain of command without anyone else seriously checking everyone else’s work, and it can result in horrible problems. If you work with spreadsheets, then you should find someone to check yours every now and again to make sure the numbers add up. If you’re in charge of people who work on spreadsheets, then you should double check their work more often. An article from 2013 posits that 88% of spreadsheets have an error in them. That’s not a promising number.

                      At the end of the day it comes down to just paying attention. When your eyes stare at tiny numbers in tiny blocks all day long, they’re bound to start missing things. Make sure you take a step away from the computer every now and then and give your eyes and your brain a break. Spreadsheets are great but they’re also very tedious and it’s very easy to make a mistake if you’re not paying attention.

                      Featured photo credit: Sunoray via sunoray.com

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                      Published on November 9, 2018

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                      Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                      So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                      6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                      When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                      1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                      Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                      To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                      In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                      • Microsoft Excel
                      • Microsoft Access
                      • Statistics
                      • Data Analytics
                      • Adobe Campaign
                      • Quickbooks
                      • XML Database management system
                      • Filemaker Pro
                      • MATLAB
                      • Hive
                      • FORTRAN
                      • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                      • SAS

                      2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                      Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                      Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                      • Content Management System (CMS)
                      • Google Analytics
                      • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                      • Email Marketing
                      • Web Page Design
                      • WordPress
                      • Digital Media
                      • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                      • Campaign Management Software

                      3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                      A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                      • Adobe Photoshop
                      • Adobe InDesign
                      • Adobe Illustrator
                      • AutoCAD
                      • CorelDRAW
                      • Microsoft Visual Studio
                      • Maya
                      • Microsoft Word
                      • Microsoft Publisher
                      • Operating Digital Cameras

                      4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                      The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                      To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                      • HTML
                      • C/C++
                      • Java
                      • Python
                      • XML
                      • UI/UX
                      • LINUX
                      • CISC and RISC architecture
                      • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                      • Memory Management
                      • PCB Layout
                      • SQL

                      5. IT Troubleshooting

                      Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                      So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                      • Backup management
                      • Diagnostics
                      • End User support
                      • Client-Server management
                      • Installation and configuration
                      • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                      • System administration
                      • Tech support

                      6. Enterprise Systems

                      Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                      Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                      The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                      Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                      Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                      Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                      1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                      a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                      Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                      b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                      This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                      c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                      Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                      Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                      2. Rule the Social Media World

                      a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                      Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                      From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                      b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                      This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                      c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                      Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                      Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                      3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                      a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                      From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                      b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                      Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                      The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                      c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                      The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                      4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                      a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                      It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                      From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                      b. Canva Design School

                      From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                      c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                      62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                      d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                      The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                      Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                      5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                      a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                      IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                      It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                      b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                      The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                      Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                      The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                      • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                      • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                      • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                      • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                      • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                      • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                      • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                      Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                      Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                      1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                      It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                      Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                      2. Work on Your Efficiency

                      Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                      For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                      3. Look for Shortcuts

                      Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                      4. Apply for an Internship

                      Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                      By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                      The Bottom Line

                      Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                      So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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