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Take the Anxiety out of Domestic Finances with Microsoft Excel
Mon 4th September 2006
It can be very difficult to keep track of the maintenance requirements in the home, who can remember exactly when the boiler was last serviced for example. Microsoft Excel has the facilities to allow you to produce a home maintenance schedule to make keeping track of maintenance issues much easier. Each item that requires inspection can be listed, together with a schedule of how often they require checking. Simple functions are available in Excel to allow items that are overdue to be flagged for attention, for example by changing the colour to red if the inspection date has been missed. It is also very simple to add notes recording what the issues where the last time the item was inspected. The cost of any work done can also be recorded, which will help to highlight when it would be more economic to replace items rather than continue to repair them.
Keeping track of the household finances can be a daunting task. As well as the basic calculation functions Microsoft Excel contains simple formulas which will automatically update the results of your calculations when values change. Revising a value once the total has been calculated is simple, just make the change and Excel updates the total for you. There are also simple functions to allow you to add values, calculate averages and find the smallest or largest values in a range of values. You can use these functions to develop spreadsheets to keep track of all your incoming and outgoing payments, putting in predicted values of bills for budgeting purposes that can then be easily updated when the actual bill arrives. This allows you to keep track of your balance and helps you identify when there is likely to be a shortfall, giving you time to put measures in place to prevent charges being incurred.
Filling in your tax return can be a long and drawn out business. Even if you send your return off to be completed by someone else you can make things significantly easier by keeping track of expenses during the year. Having a household budget spreadsheet at your fingertips makes it much simpler to record expenses and document the corresponding receipts, which you need to have to hand at tax return time.
You can also use Microsoft Excel to help in planning and monitoring any home improvements. The first, and ultimately most important point to consider when starting such a venture is how much it is going to cost you. An Excel spreadsheet is a great tool for tracking expenses. You can use the spreadsheet to help you plan the works, develop a preliminary budget, record your actual expenses and compare them to each other. In this way if things are starting to go over budget you should be able to spot it early and use the spreadsheet to review your options to get it back on track.
The above points illustrate just a few of the many ways in which Microsoft Excel can be used to simplify many domestic finance tasks. By applying some or all of these measures you should feel more in control of the situation. You should also be able to save both time and money in completing your household duties, leaving you more time and money for the more enjoyable things in life!
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