Love Here is a chance to get our most awesome courses on discount.
Checkout our 2016 Holiday SALE. Hurry up, SALE ends this Friday.

All articles with 'Analytics' Tag

Sara’s Copy Shop – Break even analysis and what-if modeling in Excel [Videos]

Published on Sep 13, 2016 in Analytics, Financial Modeling
Sara’s Copy Shop – Break even analysis and what-if modeling in Excel [Videos]

Last week, I asked you to share an analysis problem that you couldn’t solve in Excel. We got quite a few very interesting problems in comments and email. In this post, let me explain how to solve Sara’s copy shop problem using Excel.

What is Sara’s copy shop problem?
Thanks to Caroline who posted this problem.

Sara wants to open a copy shop. Each copier costs $5,000 per year to lease. The rent & other fixed costs per month are $300. There is a $0.02 variable cost per copy. Each copier can print up to 100,000 copies per year. She plans to charge $0.11 per copy from her customers. Sara estimates that the demand can be any of the 4 values – 500, 1000, 1500 or 2000 copies per day.

  1. Build a model to estimate profit per given number of copiers & demand values
  2. Find the mix of copiers & demand values that can make maximum profit for Sara (copiers – 1 to 6, demand – 500 to 2000)
Continue »

Tell me about an analysis problem that you couldn’t solve with Excel?

Published on Sep 9, 2016 in Analytics

Time for a quick show & tell.

Tell me about an analysis problem that you couldn’t solve with Excel?

It can be because you didn’t know how to solve the problem or Excel isn’t the tool for it or any other reason.

Go ahead and speak up. Post your tricky analysis problems in the comments section.

Continue »

18 ways to turn analysis projects into a nightmare

Published on Sep 5, 2016 in Analytics, Learn Excel
18 ways to turn analysis projects into a nightmare

Every week, we read news about failed analysis projects. If you listen carefully, you can hear the grunts, screams and curses of thousands of analysts all over the world about their analysis nightmares.

At, we talk a lot about best practices for data analytics. So today, let’s peek in to the dark side and understand the mistakes that can turn your analysis project into a nightmare.

There are 3 parts in any analysis project

To understand these worst practices in analysis world, first let’s break analysis projects in to 3 parts.

  • Requirements
  • Data Structure
  • Tools & Construction

Let’s deep dive in to each area of the analysis projects to see what can go wrong.

Continue »

Analyzing 300,000 calls for help [case study]

Published on Aug 24, 2016 in Analytics, Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts, Power Pivot
Analyzing 300,000 calls for help [case study]

Over the weekend, I got an email from Mr. E, one of my students. Mr. E works at a police department in California and as part of his work, he was looking at calls received by police. Whenever police get a call for help, multiple teams can respond to the call and go to the location. All of these dispatches are recorded. So a single call can have several such dispatches. And Mr. E wanted to findout which team responded the first. The problem?

Finding the first responded team is tricky.

Today let’s take up this problem as a case study and understand various methods to solve it.  We are going to learn about writing better lookups, pivot tables, power pivot and optimization. Put on your helmets, cause this is going to be mind blowingly awesome.

Continue »

Excel Links – Getting used to life in Windy Wellington Edition

Published on Aug 10, 2016 in excel links, personal

So we moved to Wellington, New Zealand few weeks back (on 17th of July 2016, to be precise). After spending first 3 weeks in Jeff’s house and a hotel, we moved in to our rental home over the weekend (on 6th of August). Around the same time, the worst of Wellington winter waved welcome to us. We quickly learned how to stay warm indoors (layers, hot water bottles, rugs and more layers). Kids started going to school few days back and they are loving it. I bought a bike and managed to go out on few rides on the hilly roads of Wellington and found a strange for sale sign too.

For sale: Pony poo and pine cones

Anyhow, Since we didn’t have internet connection until today, I thought I will start by sharing a few Excel links with you. Check them out to get your fix of spreadsheets.

Read on…

Continue »

Analyzing half a million consumer complaints [Part 1 of 3]

Published on Feb 16, 2016 in Analytics, Charts and Graphs
Analyzing half a million consumer complaints [Part 1 of 3]

How would you analyze data when you have lots of it? That is the inspiration for this series.

Let’s meet our data – Finance Industry Consumer Complaints

As part of open data initiatives, US government & Consumer Financial Protection Bureau maintain a list of all consumer complaints made against financial institutions (banks, credit unions etc.) You can download this data from the catalog page here. I have obtained the data on 1st of February, 2016. The download has 513,824 records. Each row contains one complaint.

In this and next two parts of the series, we are going to analyze these half a million complaints to find insights.

Continue »

Reconcile debits & credits using Solver [Advanced Excel]

Published on Aug 18, 2015 in Analytics, Excel Howtos
Reconcile debits & credits using Solver [Advanced Excel]

Here is a tricky problem often faced by accountants and finance professionals: Let’s say you have 5 customers. Each of them need to pay you some money. Instead of paying the total amount in one go, they paid you in 30 small transactions. The total amount of these transactions matches how much they need to pay you. But you don’t know which customer paid which amounts. How would you reconcile the books?

If you match the transactions manually, it can take an eternity – after all there are more than 931 zillion combinations (5^30).

This is where solver can be handy. Solver can find optimal solution for problems like this before you finish your first cup of coffee.

Continue »

CP030: Detecting fraud in data using Excel – 5 techniques for you

Published on Feb 19, 2015 in Analytics, Podcast Sessions

In the 30th session of podcast, let’s learn how to uncover fraud in data.

How to detect fraud in data - 5 techniques for you - CP030 - podcast

What is in this session?

In the wake of hedge fund scams, accounting frauds and globalization, We, analysts are constantly second guessing every source of data. So how do you answer a simple question like, “am I being lied to?” while looking at a set of numbers your supplier has sent you.

That is our topic for this podcast session.

In this podcast, you will learn

  • Quick announcements about 50 ways & 200k BRM
  • Introduction to fraud detection
  • 5 techniques for detecting fraud
    • Benford’s law
    • Auto correlation
    • Discontinuity at zero
    • Analysis of distribution
    • Learning systems & decision trees
  • Implementing these techniques in Excel
  • A word of caution
Continue »

Who is the most consistent seller? [BYOD]

Published on Feb 18, 2015 in Analytics, Excel Howtos, Pivot Tables & Charts
Who is the most consistent seller? [BYOD]

Who is the most consistent of all?

Imagine you are a category manager at a large e-commerce company. Your site offers various products, but you don’t really make these products. You list products made by other vendors on your site. Every day, these vendors would send you invoices for the amount of product they have sold. Above is a snapshot of such invoices.

Looking at this list, you have a few questions.

  1. Who is the best seller?
  2. Who is the most active seller?
  3. Who is the most consistent seller?
  4. Which seller has fewest invoices?

Let’s go ahead and answer these using Excel. Shall we?

Continue »

CP020: Top 10 time saving strategies for business analysts

Published on Sep 18, 2014 in Podcast Sessions, Learn Excel
CP020: Top 10 time saving strategies for business analysts

In the 20th session of podcast, lets save some time.

What is in this session?

We all want to save time and stay productive. The obvious answer seems like using keyboard shortcuts. But they can only get you so far. So what about the real productive strategies? That is what we address in this podcast.

In this podcast, you will learn,

  • Announcements
  • 5 key areas of business analyst work – tracking, analysis, reporting, data management & modeling
  • Time saving strategies for tracking
  • for analysis
  • for reporting
  • for data management
  • for modeling
  • Conclusions
Continue »

Please help me design our new course – “50 ways to analyze your data”

Published on Sep 10, 2014 in Analytics, Learn Excel
Please help me design our new course – “50 ways to analyze your data”

Hi friends & readers of,

I have an exciting and awesome new training program for you. 50 ways to analyze your data is aimed to give you critical data analysis & charting skills necessary for your success as an analyst (or manager). I want to make sure that this course offers you best content & value. I need your help in designing it. Please take a few minutes to read this short post & share your feedback.

Continue »

CP016: 3 Must have books for aspiring analysts

Published on Aug 7, 2014 in Podcast Sessions
CP016: 3 Must have books for aspiring analysts

In the 16th session of podcast, lets review 3 very useful books for aspiring analysts.

What is in this session?

Analytics is an increasingly popular area now. Every day, scores of fresh graduates are reporting to their first day of work as analysts. But to succeed as an analyst?

By learning & practicing of course.

And books play a vital role in opening new pathways for us. They can alter the way we think, shape our behavior and make us awesome, all in a few page turns.

So in this episode, let me share 3 must have books for (aspiring) analysts.

Continue »

Use Analytical Charts to Make your Boss Love You

Published on Mar 16, 2011 in Charts and Graphs
Use Analytical Charts to Make your Boss Love You

There are beautiful, powerful & awesome charting examples all around us. Today, I want to show you how we can harness the power of Excel to create Analytical Charts.

Analytical What?!?

To be frank, I do not know what to call these charts, so I choose the term Analytical Charts. But this is what I have in mind when I say Analytical charts:

A chart is analytical chart,
(1) If it is interactive
(2) It it can answer different questions by re-structuring same data differently

Continue »

Do you use (or make) Excel Dashboards? Tell us about yourself to win a free training kit

Published on Dec 16, 2010 in Charts and Graphs
Do you use (or make) Excel Dashboards? Tell us about yourself to win a free training kit

(You can win my latest Excel Dashboard Training kit free, read this post to find out how.)

Over at Jorge’s ExcelCharts blog, he started a very good discussion on Excel Dashboards: Who needs them anyway?.

Jorge has very good experience designing, working on and teaching about dashboards. So he uses all that skill to gaze in to a crystal ball, to understand who needs excel dashboards and why. In this post, I build on his argument and ask you the big question – “If you make or use Excel Dashboards, who are you?”

Continue »

Excel Links – Next Dashboard Contest Edition

Published on Dec 13, 2010 in excel links
Excel Links – Next Dashboard Contest Edition

Almost an year ago, we had a memorable dashboard contest on Sales Dashboards. We got 32 beautiful, outstanding, well crafted entries and it was a lot of fun learning new tricks & meeting new members of our community. I am planning to have one more dashboard contest and I need your help.

I need you to suggest a topic for the contest (optional: and give some sample data)

Just drop a comment with your suggestions (and point to source data if any). We will have a dashboard contest on one of those topics.

Read the rest of this post to get some useful Excel related links.

Continue »