This is blog already caters to a very niche group of people, but this post is probably for a niche of the niche…niche2. I’m kind of an Excel nerd. My primary language, the first tool I go to for any problem is Excel. When other people want to send out mass emails, they sign up for Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. I made a spreadsheet to do this.
I had kind of dismissed the SUMPRODUCT function as pretty much irrelevant and useless until one day while helping a church with a Narrative Budget. I was trying to allocate budget lines based on certain percentages in adjacent columns using my regular method when it hit me: Is this the job SUMPRODUCT was intended for? It worked beautifully so that’s why I’m sharing it with you. It saves a lot of time and reduces the risk of errors.
The sad truth is that often looks do matter. You might have a wonderfully accurate report with plenty of meaningful insights in it, but sometimes the formatting, or lack there of, can cause people to miss those insights or even dismiss your report. Why is that? For numbers people, usually their eyes are searching for those insights. They are looking for meaning in the numbers. For everyone else, they need help in knowing where to look. Formatting can do that. They also have a lack of trust in numbers and a more professional look can help them trust more. I know this doesn’t make sense to a numbers person, but that’s life.
There’s nothing fancy in this video. Just some basic formatting and page layout tips. I go through it pretty quick because it is quick and easy. In five minutes, you can easily transform a report from plain to…more or less professional.
We have so many fantastic churches in the Dakotas UMC. One of them that has been a huge help to me personally is Yankton First UMC. They’ve given me some great experiences and wisdom…and now a new tool to share with you. It’s a clever spreadsheet that allows you to easily track Memorials or other small, short-lived funds. The reason you use a spreadsheet is so you don’t clutter up your chart of accounts. You can have one account in your books for Memorials, and this spreadsheet would then break that amount down.
Most of us bookkeepers do this. Here’s a screen shot of one that I used to keep at Bismarck First UMC. It worked…but it’s not pretty. Also, I could never give someone a printout to show them the balances unless I wanted them to see my mess. That’s why I really like Yankton First UMC’s spreadsheet.