When it comes to Excel, the truth is that if a business is relying predominantly on manual processes then it is not running as efficiently as it can be. Focusing on macros for Excel automation lifts a massive weight when it comes to repetitive tasks such as invoice & quotation generation.
We speak to countless managers and Excel users who are looking for an effective, lightweight Excel automation system that removes the long-winded procedures involved with inputting and analysing data manually in Excel. Not only is the manual approach extremely tedious, it also eats into an organisation’s valuable availability of resources and leads to a much higher risk of human error, not only from not having automated error-handling, but from boring manual tasks naturally leading to a loss in productivity. This is the case for all businesses, regardless of their size or sector.
Excel automation is the logical solution, though businesses often face a sizeable challenge to make the transition as smoothly as possible, particularly if they have no prior experience with automating key processes or large datasets within important spreadsheets, such as the years of historic data which could also be optimised through automated data importing.
Although macros for automation can open up a world of opportunities, if automated processes aren’t deployed effectively the first time around, this will certainly cost a business more time and money to put the issues right further down the line.
There is an extremely wide range of opportunities through which organisations can optimise their Excel processes through automation. One of the first steps is to identify which approaches to Excel automation would make a perfect fit for them, in terms of streamlining their daily operations.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key aspects of Excel automation:
Excel Migration & Integration Automation– Those who are familiar with using Excel for sales or payroll activities will know the laborious nature of compiling and converting datasets from disparate sources all too well. By automating this process so that Excel automatically applies particular styles or formatting, or converts text files, a business can greatly reduce the amount of time and energy spent on importing data from various databases. This combats the previous problem of inaccessibility when sharing data, as you can automatically generate data to numerous formats such as CSV & PDF files.
Automatically Create Custom Data Dashboards – Let’s say an IT manager wishes to mine a large dataset to pluck out key trends and highly pertinent information for a company presentation. The process of doing this manually can take hours, if not days. Automation can help to compile and highlight important trends that are based on the specific criteria that the IT manager has set.
Excel Error-Handling Automation – Manual processes that require a person to routinely input data every day, week or month are a catalyst for error. Regardless of how proficient an individual is at any given task, when it comes to the accurate management of data their level of accuracy will always be lower compared to that of a sophisticated automation process.
Generate reports in high volume – When managed correctly, Excel has the capability to produce informative summaries by pivoting a dataset in a particular way. Automating a workflow that formats and filters values is a great way to create a quick report in a matter of seconds. The beauty of the automation process is that, once in place, it can be repeated as many times as necessary.
If a business is unsure in any way about how to deploy an effective Excel automation strategy that works for their own operations, or they have no prior experience with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), it’s always best to consult expert advice before setting the process in motion.
Although the VBA programming language is very intuitive, it requires a skilled hand to get the most out of it when it comes to writing robust macros and creating custom Excel automation processes.
2 Initial quotation
3 Functional specification
4 Final quotation
5 Project coding and development
6 Testing process