6 Common Excel Mistakes to Avoid for Small Businesses

If you have a small business, you likely rely on Microsoft Excel to keep things running smoothly. After all, you can use Excel for everything from scheduling to accounting and more!

However, you can’t eliminate the chance of human error, for instance, when trying to combine excel files. That’s why you need to learn about these common Excel mistakes, so you can avoid them in the future.

Make sure to look for these errors moving forward, and train your employees to do the same.

1. Not Double Checking the Numbers

Data errors are one of many common Excel mistakes that can happen if your employees don’t double-check their numbers. For instance, someone could type $1,500 instead of $150 on an expense report. Similarly, omitting or leaving out a necessary number could throw off the entire report.

It’s a good idea for small businesses to have another team member rechecking spreadsheets for errors like this.

2. Ignoring Error Messages

One of the biggest benefits of Excel is that the program tells you when something seems off. If you see #N/A! or #VALUE! then make sure you don’t ignore it. These error messages can drastically impact your results, so take the time to troubleshoot the issue.

If you see an error pop up window, consider following the suggestions. You can accept the corrections or fix the formula yourself.

3. Errors With Copying and Pasting

Copying and pasting data might be convenient, but there’s always a risk of messing up the formulas or numbers. Copying and pasting more than one group of cells at a time can sometimes switch your formulas to values. To avoid this, you can use the “Paste Special” option to ensure the formula remains intact.

Another issue with copy and paste is that sometimes pasted numbers turn into dates. For instance, pasting 3/4 can turn into 3/4/2020. A number with a zero in front, such as a zip code, can quickly turn from 02345 to 2345.

If these issues aren’t caught right away, you can see how they could impact your business.

4. Excessive Formatting

Sometimes, you might want to format all the cells in a certain way to make the spreadsheet look more attractive. For example, switching text alignment to the center. However, selecting an entire column for formatting can slow down your computer.

As you enter different business data, formulas, and sheets to a spreadsheet, it can start to bog down a computer. If your master file is taking quite some time to open, consider skipping the fancy formatting.

5. Confusing Others With Color

Color can be an excellent way to add emphasis on a spreadsheet, but only when used correctly. If you decide to highlight a column, row, or group of cells in yellow without telling the rest of your team why, then they might get confused.

There are also certain colors you want to avoid. Red has specific connotations and often indicates an error or a negative value. Unless this is what you want to point out, make sure to avoid it.

6. Not Using the Right Tools and Add-Ons

There are a variety of tools and add-ons that can make running your business easier. If you’re still learning how Excel works, too many add-ons might seem overwhelming, but they’re easy to learn.

Excel by itself can only do so much, but there’s a lot you can do in tandem with it. For instance, you can create Excel files, use spreadsheet data, and more using C# programming thanks to this Excel Interop C# workaround.

Avoid These Common Excel Mistakes

Now that you know more about the common Excel mistakes small businesses make, you can spot them early enough to avoid disaster. Having an extra pair of eyes can make all the difference, so make sure you have someone double-checking your spreadsheets.

For more advice like this, check out our tech and business sections! We’ve got what you need to succeed.

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