Imagine that you're running a courier firm (assuming, of course, that you don't already. If you do, just imagine you're running a different one). The first thing you'd expect from a driver is that he or she would be able to drive. However, it would also help no end if your driver could do more than just keep the vehicle on the road, if they can find the quickest or most efficient route from a to b, if they can pick their way through the traffic or find shortcuts and alternative routes to avoid the jams. Having drivers who not merely do the job but do the job well can make a substantial and positive difference for the company.

But this doesn't just apply to drivers. Microsoft Office software has become rather ubiquitous, and chances are, your company uses at least one Office application on a regular basis. Most businesses rely on multiple programs to keep everything moving forward smoothly. So doesn't it make as much sense to ensure that those employees who use Office software are also able to use it as effectively as possible - whatever line of business you work in?

Put like that, of course it does. But, on the other hand, Office software can be used straight out of the box with little or no experience, so it's quite reasonable to ask what difference the extra skill can really bring. In short, it can markedly enhance both the quality and efficiency of whatever work you use Office for - as much of an improvement as the courier firm having a driver who gets their quickly, rather than just someone who knows the basics of driving.

Just what benefits the extra experience and skill can bring depends upon the software being used. Perhaps your staff need to use Word regularly, producing documents to inform staff, stakeholders or the public about new developments - anyone can type in the content, but for that content to be as effective as possible there needs to be more than just plain text, and the extra familiarity with Word allows the user to format and style the document to make it as appealing as can be. Much the same can be said for PowerPoint, the greater knowledge and experience allowing for a far more engaging and successful presentation.

Where Excel or Access are concerned, failure to use all the available tools can have a deeper impact on your organisation. Many people will use the two interchangeably, but both applications offer distinct tools to analyse key business data, and produce clear information on where the company has been and where it's going. Understanding when to use Access and when Excel, and how to get the most detailed and insightful analysis can give any business a substantial advantage. Lacking this knowledge puts that information, vital for long-term progress, beyond reach.

Developing Office skills doesn't just enhance the results of your work - it can also save time, a resource that's critical for every organisation. Office users can create macros and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts, simple pieces of programming to automate repetitive processes within Office software. If your staff can use this technology, then their time can be put to much more productive use rather than being wasted on repeated tasks.

So, clearly, your business can benefit from having a high level of skill and experience with Office software to call upon. But how best to get this skill and experience? Training for your staff is the key - and the long-term benefits for your company will guarantee that it's a profitable decision. Of course, as with any business expenditure, it's worth making sure that you get the best deal for your money, but a quick internet search can immediately identify training providers that are the most cost-effective and provide the most benefit for your company: key points to look out for are providers that guarantee they never cancel their courses, and those that clearly and simply state prices with no hidden extras and surcharges. Find the right course and the right trainer, and you can find the best skills for your staff and a brighter future for your business.