Excel can play a vital role for all sorts of businesses, large or small. In ensuring that accounts are managed and kept up to date, and that all incomes and expenses are recorded accurately. Vital information can be stored, and updated easily, and a wide range of analyses can be made, allowing you to better understand your data. And whatever data you enter, whatever charts and reports you produce, can be shared instantly and easily with other parties anywhere in the world.

And it's certainly true that Excel can manage huge spreadsheets of business accounts, produce detailed charts for showing to management or to clients, and show trends in sales or finances. It's a powerful tool for looking after major financial issues.

But it's so much more, too.

You don't need a business or an office to be able to make the most of Excel. Home finances are of tremendous importance, particularly in these difficult and belt-tightening times. And Excel can be of immense help in managing your domestic accounts - and, more importantly, in understanding them, in seeing where your money is going and helping you to take action if the figures are going against you.

One thing that Excel can bring to any household is a flawless and thorough mathematician. Of course, it can take a column of figures and add them up for you - no small matter for some of us! - but there's far more than just the basic addition. Excel can calculate any equation, however complicated, using whatever combination of figures you require. What's more, updating any of the data will immediately adjust the relevant equations.

For instance, if you have a column for money spent on transport, and the amount you are spending increases, updating the initial figure will automatically update any sums that it is a part of. There's now no chance for forgetfulness to put a spanner in the works, no concerns about adding and subtracting and carrying the one... every penny counts, and the precision that Excel can bring to your home finances can make a huge difference.

There's a lot more Excel can do for your domestic accounts. Remember the charts those business executives showed to those managers and clients? The same charts can just as easily be used to present your own finances in a clear and comprehensible manner. Trends in sales or turnover for a business can translated into trends in your own incomings and outgoings. Indeed, Excel can let you know automatically if your food bill starts to creep up, or if your savings are starting to move in the right direction.

And with Microsoft's SharePoint server, you can even access this data from anywhere in the world, and update it wherever you are. So, if you're the type who needs to know just how much your holiday is costing you - and really can't wait until you get home - Excel can keep on tending to your spending 24/7.

All in all, managing your household finances with Excel really can help you to get to grips with your money, and at a time when it's rarely been more important to do so. You might also want to consider a short training course, which can teach you thoroughly to exploit all of the powerful tools that the software offers, and further increasing the benefit to you. Either way, Excel has never had more to offer your household.