“Flying without a net” is one thing, but working in Excel spreadsheets without a mouse? What heresy!
And yet, this was the notion recently raised on Twitter by Will Ortel, a researcher with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute in Virginia. He posted a poll on Twitter to see how many people used a mouse with Excel to get a sense a test of the average Excel user’s knowledge. The results, though likely less than completely scientific, were not surprising. A solid 40% said “Of course,” while the second-highest response was “sometimes.”
To Ortel, this was a sign of how more people – even those analyzing finance data on a regular basis – need to push themselves to not only master technology but push the boundaries of how to be more efficient.
In a blog post called “How To Get Smarter” that followed up the poll, he explained why this is so important:
I spent a number of years as a ski racer and coach, and I can tell you with authority that the difference between an advanced and intermediate skier is whether they are able to lean out over the fall line while turning. Using Excel without a mouse is exactly the same sort of bright-line separator.
In other words, Excel is a powerful tool that becomes even more powerful, sure with the more you know, but also when you add in a cloud-based database and enterprise-grade reporting. In fact, Ortel follows up his argument with a list of helpful recommendations to use not only Excel but other common tech products.
Play Your Way To Smartitude
Financial analysts and other business pros might rightfully respond that they’re already working hard enough without spending more time learning Excel shortcuts and other hacks. So maybe instead they should consider gameplay as a way to upskill themselves. That was the strategy of “crruzi,” a Reddit user who recreated a video game based on Excel that made its debut late last year. He offered the details in an interview with Tech Times.
“I just learned VBA for my job and wanted to get familiar with it,” crruzi told the magazine. “Because I love XCOM I decided to make it my project to code a complete XCOM game in Excel. The game is set between the events of XCOM:EW and XCOM 2, where a group of guerrilla fighters try to liberate their city from Advent control.”
Will playing Exlcom, as the game is called, make you better at Excel? It’s hard to say. But it’s just more proof that people who invest their time and creativity with the world’s most popular spreadsheet program are consistently getting more out of it.
That suggests the same is bound to happen for businesses who do likewise.
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