Microsoft Excel is one of the most common software applications used in the world, employed in statistical analysis, simple database projects, and even as interactive whiteboards and branching storybooks.

Nearly every organization uses Excel and yet its versatility makes it a difficult application to master. Many businesses face the need to use Excel in a way that is beyond their current capabilities, either to create a one-time application or as an ongoing need, and need a way to give their employees the needed skills.

The obvious choice to do this is to investigate Microsoft Excel training courses. However many companies are hiring consultancy services instead, and have a Microsoft-certified Excel expert come in to help the staff create the application they need. Each approach has advantages.

Consultancy for Organization with Limited Needs

If your business has a narrow application for Excel, then Microsoft Excel training courses will contain a lot of irrelevant information that is likely to just frustrate and confuse your staff. For example, a small insurance company might want a simple employer database to generate reports on upcoming renewals. They don't need statistical and financial functions or even simple arithmetic. All they would need is training on Excel's database functions.

Another business might have a spreadsheet they have been using but that was created years ago by someone who has since left the company. The old spreadsheet is becoming less useful as details of the business change. They don't need a new workbook. They need someone who can help them update different parts of the sheet to provide needed new functionality.

Consultancy training is more focused than typical Microsoft Excel training courses, which is both the strength and weakness of the technique.

Microsoft Excel Training Courses for General Needs

Most organizations use Excel in a more widespread manner. Many employees are using the application and they are using a variety of functions. Traditional training courses are likely to be more appropriate. Each student receives a broad foundation of knowledge and even experienced Excel users have "I didn't know you could do that" moments.

The generalized nature of the information means that some employees will be learning techniques they will never use, but instructor-led training is likely to be less expensive than bringing in a consultant.

Customized Microsoft Excel Training

One compromise between the two is to find a training provider who offers onsite Microsoft Excel training courses that can be customized to your needs. The instructor will create a course which will emphasize the material that is important to your company, even using your own spreadsheets as examples. For the right situation it combines the low price of traditional training with the focus of consultancy.

This provides less one-on-one support than consultancy but may be a good solution for a staff of inexperienced Excel users. They get the basic skills they need, but directed toward the specific tasks they will perform in their jobs.