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The right amount and type of Excel skills for management position?

Luwak

New Member
Hi all,

I am in a management position and have been working with Excel for many years. Recently I realized that my skills and knowledge are quite pathetic so I started doing an online course to refresh and expand my Excel skills. I strongly believe that becoming more Excel literate will help my in my career. Seeing again what is possible in terms of data visualization makes me quite excited, but I am wondering how deep I should let myself get into this rabbit hole of Excel awesomeness. I surely have some catching up to do on the basics, but after that what should I focus on to spend my limited time most effectively on specific skills that will help me in my career (instead of turning me into a data analyst)?
 

AliGW

Active Member
With respect, without knowing anything at all about the nature of your job and intended career aspirations, it's practically impossible to answer. Having said this, as a pupil data analyst myself (alongside my teaching duties), I am creating a data visualisation system for our school using Power BI, so getting down that rabbit hole and continuing to do so has been beneficial to me.
 

Luwak

New Member
Thanks, I realize that my description was a bit minimalist. I am currently director of an SME production company where we do production outsourcing. I would like to use Excel to get a better grip on the business. At the moment I am enjoying the learning experience, but rationally speaking it would probably make more sense to hire a consultant as opposed to trying to do things myself. Anyway, after the basics I would like to focus on tracking business performance (KPI's, financial reports etc.)
 

AliGW

Active Member
So assuming you have Office for business, your company should have access to Power BI - just Google it and check it out. There is a free trial you can get.
 

Chihiro

Excel Ninja
For management position in general. You'd need only few basic skills.

1. First and foremost. How to read data given to you and how it relates to advancing business objectives.
2. When collecting or preparing data, know appropriate data structure to use. I.E. Flat table with single header per data category.
3. Learn PivotTable well.

Focus on these things before you move onto other aspects.

Also if you are presenting data to higher ups, knowing your audience is a must. Without this knowledge, even the most impressive dashboards and reports will go unread or story you are trying to convey will be misrepresented.
 

chirayu

Well-Known Member
This will probably get a lot of people riled up but... as a director you don't need to know anything as long as you have someone who does it for you and gives you observations from the data in simple language. but if your boss expects you to make stuff then just the basics like being able to read the data -what it tells you, pivots and charts
 

Luwak

New Member
This will probably get a lot of people riled up but... as a director you don't need to know anything as long as you have someone who does it for you and gives you observations from the data in simple language. but if your boss expects you to make stuff then just the basics like being able to read the data -what it tells you, pivots and charts
Your comment makes much sense. However, I feel that getting a better understanding of Excel myself will be a good investment of my time. Besides that, I am enjoying it so you can also see it as a hobby. I might get an Excel whizkid on board to help me at a later stage, but I want to be able to understand what he/she is actually doing. I think that the direction Microsoft is heading in with PowerBI shows that they want to give more design options to the end users, apparently that works better than asking someone else to do it who will come up with something that misses the mark..
 
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