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SALES ANALYSIS

# Here's How to Analyze Seasonal Sales in Excel

Seasonal sales are difficult to forecast and analyze. It's hard to pick up on monthly trends. It's hard to forecast future sales. It's hard to plan spending a staffing. Seasonal sales are...messy.

MANAGEMENT REPORTING

If you prepare balance sheets in Excel, you can make them a lot more useful to your readers. Just add Sources and Uses information to your balance sheets.

This simple improvement will tell readers how each item in the balance sheet has changed, and how those changes have affected cash flow.

TAX REDUCTION

# Increase Taxes by Cutting Them!

Hauser's Law says that the most effective way politicians can increase tax collections is to cut tax rates. This isn't theory; it's been hard, cold reality in the US since 1950, as our article explains.

If you want to cut your own tax rates, download the workbook shown here and use it to convince your politicians that they'll have more money to spend if you have more money to spend!

PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT

# Use Excel to Fix Your Broken Accounts Receivable Measure

Do you monitor the health of your receivables using the "accounts-receivable collection period," also called the "Days Sales Outstanding in Receivables" (DSO)?

If so, you know a lot less about the health of your receivables than you think you do.

Learn why DSO fails and how Excel can give you more accurate results, results also can improve your cash flow forecast .

CALC-PLOT ANALYSIS

# Should You Raise Prices? Or Should You Lower Them?

Suppose you plan to increase profits by raising or lowering your prices. Your unit sales probably will increase if you cut prices and decrease if you raise prices.

By using this formula in a calc-plot chart, you can get a better picture of all your pricing options. This will help you to brainstorm your pricing strategy more easily.

SUMMARIZING DATA

# Using Excel to Calculate Frequency Distributions

When you're analyzing data that can have multiple values, it's often useful to know how often various ranges of values have occurred.  For example, how many products have you sold at different prices? How many employees are in each pay grade? How many expense accounts rose or fell by certain amounts?

Although Excel's FREQUENCY function was designed to calculate frequency distributions like this, you also can use SUM-IF, SUMPRODUCT, and Excel 2007's COUNTIFS function. We offer a summary of your options.

WORKING WITH LISTS

# Returning Items from a List Using Excel's Data Validation

One easy way to return an item from an Excel database is to add a dropdown list box to your spreadsheet. But suppose you want to return additional information about that item, how do you do it?

You can use Excel's Data Validation feature to return the item, and INDEX-MATCH to return other items. We show you how.

EXCEL REPORTING

# Reporting Periodic Data From Excel Databases

It's a common problem. Each day or week or month you import data into a spreadsheet, and then you update your reports to display the new information. However, unless you've designed your Excel reports carefully, you'll have to change your Excel formulas to include that new information.

Instead, we show an easy way to let Excel formulas do all the work.

CLASSIC AND NEW EXCEL

## Conditional Formats

A reader's question gives us the opportunity to explain conditional formatting in both Excel 2003 and Excel 2007.

DYNAMIC DISPLAYS

## Variable Lists

Create variable-length lists using dynamic range names in Classic Excel or New Excel

TIME VALUE OF MONEY

## Scheduled Cash Flows

Here's how to calculate both Future and Present Values of  scheduled cash flows that aren't necessarily periodic.

DYNAMIC DATA

## List DDE Data

DDE servers update specific cells. Here's how to maintain a list of those values.

PLAY TIME

## Cartooning in Excel

Charley was goofing off one weekend, and started to play with Excel's drawing tools. Before he realized it, he was turning out cartoons in Excel.

You can see some of his Excel cartoons here.

REPORING STRATEGIES

## Display Key Stats

Business Week often uses special figures to explain and display miscellaneous facts. You can do the same in your reports. We show how to create and maintain them in Excel..

CHARTING STRATEGIES

## Useful Variance Charts

Using the wrong type of chart to track variances can waste time and paper. We offer ideas about the right type of chart.

VISITOR QUESTION

## ERP Errors

After you convert to a new accounting system (ERP) you can use Excel to uncover new errors.

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS

## Fixing the IRR

The McKinsey Quarterly recently discussed problems with the IRR calculation. Excel offers a common solution.

REPORTING STRATEGIES

## Traffic Lighting

You can create very powerful traffic light displays in Excel. We show you how.

ANALYTICAL REPORTING

## What Matters Most?

Managers and staff can waste significant time and money trying to control insignificant, uncontrollable, and random variances. Instead, filter variances to find those that matter.

VISITOR QUESTION

## Estimating Costs

A visitor is looking for help to create an estimating spreadsheet for the costs of materials and labor. We suggest a spreadsheet system to help him.

CASH PLANNING

## Scheduling Payments

Most companies must write periodic checks to firms that don't send invoices. Here's how to plan for those cash requirements.

MANAGEMENT REPORTING

Use this unusual report to show how your P&L and balance sheet combine to affect your financial ability to grow.

CHARTING STRATEGIES

## New-Product Tracking

You should track the sales of new products and mature products differently. Here's one new-product approach.

SAMPLE REPORT

## Sources & Uses

Use Excel to get a clearer picture of how Balance-Sheet changes affect your cash flow.

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