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  • 5 Reasons Every Finance & Accounting Professional Should Know Programming
  • In today’s competitive landscape it is difficult for business professionals to distinguish themselves from others. The pool is growing rapidly. According to the Occupational Outlook these fields are set to grow by roughly 11% by 2024. This is faster than the average growth rate of other jobs. While this is good news from a job attainment perspective, advancement within an organization may be more cumbersome. In order to distinguish oneself from others there must be distinctive characteristics. One overlooked attribute is the ability to write computer programs.
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  • The Dark Side of Data Pt. II
  • As a youngster, I was always afraid of the dark. At night, I would lie in bed with covers draped over my head for protection. One never really knows what lie lurking in the dark, beyond the safety of the light. Today, we encounter many dark areas that mask the true nature of problems in every organization. Often the solution employed is equivalent to throwing a cover over one’s head. Instead of shining light on data, exposing myths and debunking falsehoods, issues go ignored. In the following paragraphs we will address additional things that hide the use and interpretation of data.
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  • The 3 Perils to Big Data Gold
  • n the gold rush of ’49 thousands flocked to California seeking gold, looking for a quick way to be rich. Sadly, many devoted time, effort and resources and found “fools’ gold”. That deceptive rock looks like the real thing, yet differs in some key ways. Similarly, many are seeking riches in the Big data gold rush. In the following paragraphs we will outline a paradigm that I call LAC (pronounced “Lack”), which outlines three areas that impede returns on Big Data.
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  • The Dark Side of Data
  • Data driven. Our society has increasingly become built upon the knowledge that is derived from data. In government, policy decisions yield to a poll of the people; in corporate America, analyses are done to determine the most profitable products, in non-profits reports are generated on outcomes and effectiveness. Dark data are things that cloud the truth in data to be unleashed. The result is inappropriate decisions, wasted time and resources which can prove fatal for organizations. In many cases dark data are the result of the human agendas. Yes, data are typically derived from systems but systems, reports, analysis are all built by humans. In the following sections, we will shed some lights on how lies with data can lead to shadows around data.
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  • Business Analytics For All
  • We have a new currency. Currency is something of value in circulation that can be used for bartering. In today’s business landscape every employee needs this new currency. That new currency is Analytics. Individuals that have this skill set are able to improve processes, create new systems and chart new courses for an organization. If this skill is not readily available in an organization it needs to be cultivated. In action is the equivalent to sharing proprietary knowledge to a competitor. The result is disastrous. In the following section we will discuss several reasons why every role from Clerk to CEO needs analytics.
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  • Rooting Out Problems: An Analytical Approach
  • Problems are everywhere. It is a natural part of life and an integral part of every profession. Many problems if caught early are but a trickle of water, if it is allowed to linger and progress it becomes a tidal wave. Quite often the individuals that are able to locate problems, provide and implement thoughtful solutions become prized in any organization.
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  • Forecasting Sales for Start-Ups
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Every business idea must go through the planning stages in order to be successful. The feasibility of any business idea is not simply dependent on soft sales skill. Quite often when sales is discussed people focus on the soft skills. Things like value proposition and handling objections. However, there is an area of sales that is often overlooked.
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  • The 6 Unmistakable Tenets of Financial Analytics
  • Analytics is really a process of discovery. It is a set of techniques and tools applied to financial data to reveal data patterns which can yield financial return. In my experience working with various institutions large and small there a few reoccurring themes in the analytical process. The following is a brief list of some of the methodologies we use and share with clients.
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  • 8 Data Collection Mistakes Your Company Needs to Avoid
  • Data can provide immense value, insight and financial return if collected, organized and digested properly. Sadly I’ve seen many shortsighted attempts at data collection by organizations of various sizes. Here are eight data collection mistakes that I’ve come across that can hinder the return on investment.
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  • The Gap to Small Business Growth
  • MIND the GAP. In London this phrase is constantly repeated in rail stations to remind and warn commuters about the gap between the train car and the platform. The Gap is a space that can be an obstacle if not handled properly. Every small business has a gap to overcome.
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  • 4 Reasons Your Small Business Must Do Monthly Projections
  • Many business owners fail to review their businesses and implement corrective action early. I have small children. As part of my parental duties I teach them right from wrong and guide them away from danger. As children at times they think they know better but my experience and foresight protects them. So I tell them stop at the stop sign, don’t run near the street and chew your food slowly, say please and thank you to name a few. I am constantly monitoring them to steer them away from danger and teach them the vital skills needed as adults. A small business is just like a young child. We must monitor it, feed it, nurture it so that it will become strong able handle the challenges of the world.
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  • Detecting Small Business Failure Signs through Financial Analysis
  • Failures happen long before failures happen. It is a little known fact that the great Roman Empire showed signs of failure long before the official demise. Prior to the official fall Alaric besieged the city twice but was brought off with gold and precious artifacts. Before the official decline of a nation or business signs of deterioration are evident. These signs can be detected only through financial analysis.
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  • Mastering Your Small Business Finances, 4 Things to Know
  • “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person” Albert Einstein. Running a small business is no easy task; it “demands all of a person.” Small business success requires passion, dedication and a mastery of the finances.
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  • Business Improvement and Performance Analysis With Microsoft Excel
  • “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” (Benjamin Franklin) Every business has to grow. If an organization is not growing it is likely the opposite is true, detraction and decline. One of the first steps in improving a business is to analyze performance.
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  • 3 Steps to Creating Revenue Generating Small Business Excel Dashboards
  • Information at a glance, this pithy statement embodies the purpose of a small business dashboard. A business dashboard much like that of a car dashboard quickly communicates key metrics to stakeholders. A car dashboard communicates information about speed and fuel level to the driver. In a small business key metrics about operational and financial performance are communicated to small business owners. The following is a brief outline of the typical process we employ when creating Excel based dashboards for our clients.
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  • Small Business Planning and Budgeting with Microsoft Excel
  • A small business budget! What is it? Sadly, many small businesses do not have an annual revenue or expense budget let alone other specific budgets. Through the omission of those items “money is being left on the table”. This rarely exercised process can lead to increased profits, if used properly.
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  • Communicating Your Business Message, Storytelling with Microsoft Excel
  • In a recent meeting with a Director I heard a phrase which characterizes one of the primary purposes of data and the use of Excel. He said, “I want to tell a story”. At the end of the day that Executive wished to deliver a message about his organization to various stakeholders.
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  • Harnessing the Power of Big Data for Small Business Using Microsoft Excel
  • Big Data and Excel? Combining those two terms sounds odd at first glance but it is an overlooked area by many small businesses. Big Data is a term used to define the abundance of data available internally within an organization or externally in the cloud.
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  • 7 Things Every Employee Should Know Before Saying Proficient In Microsoft Excel
  • Sometime ago my two sons ages 3 and 2, completed their English lesson focused on the first steps to reading and learning phonetic sounds. In previous lessons, they learned about letters and the phonetic sounds that these letters make.
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  • 7 Reasons Every Business Needs an Excel Financial Model
  • Sophocles a Greek poet once said “quick decisions are unsafe decisions.” Very often in businesses the same behaviour is replicated. Quick decisions trump decisions based on data and analysis.
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  • 10 Myths About Microsoft Excel
  • A myth is defined as an imaginary and false belief. To put it in another way, the truth is not defined by consensus. Myths are prevalent in our lives; they should be acknowledged and corrected with sober judgment.
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  • 4 Reasons Why Microsoft Excel is Your Greatest Company Asset
  • A sample of job openings across industries revealed that 10% required a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel. This is quite a staggering figure given the fact that it includes a wide range of industries and job functions.
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  • 5 Reasons Businesses Fail and How Excel Can Help
  • A few years ago when the entrepreneurship bug bit me, I took a few small business start-up workshops offered by my Graduate school. During one of the seminars, the speaker asked the audience to list the biggest risks associated with a business.
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  • 8 Reasons Excel is Better Than "Off-The-Shelf" Accounting Software
  • According to various sources one of the major competitors for business accounting softwares is Microsoft Excel. The reason for that is two-fold: Excel is widely available and can be easily manipulated to perform recordkeeping and analysis. According to IRS publication 583, “Except in a few cases, the law does not require any specific kind of records.”
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  • 5 Ways Excel Can Help Your Business Make Money
  • I was told of a time when car seats were not required for cars, minimum wage was less than $2 per hour, and leaving your front door open was not an accident but a common practice. Many things have changed over the years.
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  • Paper! The Arch Nemesis of Automation: 3 Steps to Automation
  • When I walk into an office with mounds of paper I literally cringe at the sight. I think of clutter, the time needed to file, not to mention pesky paper cuts. Overall I think of disorganization, how can critical items be found when they are needed. Every super hero has its arch nemesis, Batman has Joker, Superman has Lex Luther and automation has paper.
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  • 4 Reasons your Excel reports may be wrong
  • The business landscape is changing and it’s changing fast. Ultimately, senior leadership relies upon timely reports from staff to make the critical decisions needed for growth and survival. The reports whether tabular or graphical in nature are the basis for many of these business decisions.
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  • 17 Common Spreadsheet Mistakes
  • My Father used to tell me a knife in the hand of a murderer leads to death but a knife in the hand of a surgeon leads to life. Excel is like that knife. Ok, ok this may be a far stretch (I hope) but in both instances the same tool can lead to different outcomes.
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  • The Hidden Gems in Microsoft Excel
  • There is a treasure trove sitting on your desktop. While this statement may invoke images from a bygone era of maritime plundering, it alludes to the vast amount of untouched value housed within the typical users Microsoft Excel.
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