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Spreadsheets can be your most effective and powerful tool in your business arsenal if you take advantage of the multitude of options and features available. Learning how to appropriately use these features will not only make your presentation stronger but also provide you with a simple means of sorting and organizing data. The data is important but will mean nothing if it isn t presented in a palatable form. Spreadsheets are the king of project management support tools because they are the most convenient tool to use and the most frequently used tool.
The use of color in your spreadsheet is an extremely important consideration. Color can help emphasize particularly important data and separate it from the rest of your information. Spreadsheets that feature a lot of accounting data often use red to show failing areas and green to signify profiting ones. Choose your color schemes wisely as you do not want to obscure the data presented in the cells. Black type on a dark burgundy background would not make for easy reading just as white type on a fuscia background would not make for a pleasant experience either. Try pastels as they are easier on the eyes and allow for an easy read.
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Your business revenue and losses are reported as part of your annual personal income tax. For this small business start-up you won t need to buy fancy accounting software like Quick Books or AccPac to track your business. Only as part of incorporating Bizfare Enterprise Inc in 2005 was it a requirement to engage an accountant. My accountant did insist on using Quick Books software for my business accounting. Up until then using a simple spreadsheet template served my business accounting needs for over ten years. This simple spreadsheet accounting stood the test of multiple audits by Revenue Canada (CRA and Revenue Canada Goods and Services Tax.
Yet there is no tool for project management that is more popular or widespread than the spreadsheet despite the fact that spreadsheets are not designed to be project support tools. Even in organizations with an established project management tool spreadsheets are used. There are obvious reasons for this. A spreadsheet program is on almost every computer in every organization people are familiar with spreadsheets and how to use them and people are pre-disposed to use these "office" types of software tools to solve problems. And I am right there with them. I love using spreadsheets to track all kinds of data.