It must be nice, not to have to worry about money; drifting through life, knowing that you have what you need without fretting over the price of anything, or just how much of your income is floating straight back out with the monthly bills. Not a trouble in the world, just enjoy the freedom that comes with a lack of restriction.

Of course, those who don't have to worry about money probably aren't reading articles such as these, they'll be off being free and living without limit, on a yacht perhaps or a tropical beach. The rest of us, well, we're stuck with counting the pennies, I'm afraid. You're probably used to that, however, particularly if your penny-counting goes on in an enterprise environment: there really aren't any circumstances in which a business can afford not to concern itself with where its money is going and how much is left.

This being the case, there's clearly a need to have the best tools for the job; in most offices, the tools in question come from Microsoft Excel. And there are a lot of powerful tools there - not just the standard entering-and-storing data; rather, you get many techniques for studying and analysing that data to gain a clear understanding of where the business is, and where it's going. Excel has always had a wide range of charts and graphs - pie, bar, area, line, scatter, in 2D or 3D, black and white or colour - to suit every situation, and these are augmented by conditional formatting, identifying individual cells or categories of data which show improvement or decline, highs and lows, or any other conditions that you may need highlighted. Furthermore, Excel can create accessible and understandable reports from any details and analyses, giving you an easy means to communicate the vital information to managers or stakeholders; all in all, whatever you need to do with your budgets and financial data, Excel gives you the power to take control.

Clearly, it's essential to be able to make the most of Excel, in order for the company to make the most of its money - and in order to be sure that you're using all the tools to their fullest, a short training course can make all the difference. However, there's no shortage of training providers offering just such a service - as the briefest internet search will attest to - so how can you be confident of finding the highest quality and most suitable training? How can you sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, how can you be certain that the training won't prove to be more a waste of money than a helping hand to make better use of it?

Well, there are a number of ways in which a training provider - whether through a lack of quality, laziness, unscrupulousness or in mere vagueness of mind - can end up wasting your money, and you should always expect a guarantee that none of these could ever come to pass. Firstly, a training company can waste your time - and time is money, after all; a cancelled course, even though your organisation would expect to get the cost back, means disrupted schedules, a reorganisation of tasks, perhaps delays to important work. On the other hand, if a crisis at work means that you need the training to be rescheduled, you'll be missing out if that's not possible - so you should be looking for training providers that guarantee they won't ever cancel a course, but which also give you the flexibility to adapt your requirements to fit your changing situation.

Another potentially cost-ineffective problem can arise from a training company's own pricing methods; as with many other lines of business, a trainer's prices may look enticing at first but rather less appealing once you reach the checkout, with various extras added on. This needn't be the case, however - there are providers that offer straightforward prices that are made entirely clear up-front. Finding training with a company that won't add to the advertised price can save you a not insignificant sum.

One final issue that can see your organisation's funds running away for little or no gain is the standard of the training itself. Of course, every provider will claim that they have the most able trainers, but that doesn't mean everyone is the same. As the training you are after is to help develop your Microsoft Excel skills, it would be wise to identify providers whose trainers are all fully Microsoft certified - proving that they're not merely familiar with the software, but have the necessary qualifications to teach it effectively.

Inadequate training can be a waste of money, but training of a high standard can be a very profitable investment, as the confidence and skill in using Excel that results can bring a tremendous benefit for your organisation. It may not mean that you can look forward to the carefree life free of money worries - but it does mean that all the counting of pennies you have to do will lead to a positive outcome for all.