Excel Monkey is the operating Brand of Paul T Clark Consulting is a small company owned by me, Paul Clark. I’ve been using spreadsheets for over 25 years both for business and for pleasure! Through my company I provide Excel modelling and Training services. I work closely with my clients to develop models which meet their requirements and that they can run for the foreseeable future. In addition to specific handover sessions, I support these developments by offering clients training sessions on the techniques and approaches I use.
My business experience
As an accountant in business I have developed many models for my employers and clients including Dashboards, Performance analysis, Forecasts, Consolidations and many others. I have trained many people ranging from students who need to grasp the basics of excel through to experienced professionals who need to sharpen up their skills. I use this in depth experience to inform my approaches to development and training with a focus on the features of good spreadsheets (i.e. what you should do!) and the features of bad ones (i.e what you should avoid doing!).
My Modelling approaches
I aim to ensure that the models meet my clients requirements without being overly complicated.
When completed the model should be capable of being updated and maintained by the clients team e.g. I will only include VBA if the client can understand and update the code.
. In general the development process steps I use are
- Capturing a clear and detailed specification
- Understanding relevant existing spreadsheets and approaches
- Developing the core of the new model
- Regular reviews with the client to polish and finalise the development
- Handover and training sessions
- Sign off
My Training approaches
In my training I emphasise that knowing lots of formulas is not enough. First and foremost you need to focus on the wider aspects of good spreadsheets including the following
- Fit for purpose and your audience
- Strong structure – separate data, calculations and outputs
- Good data – easily updated, nicely laid out data
- Robust formulas – Consistent formulas supplement check totals
- Excellent Outputs – Clear, informative and nicely presented
Approaching the development of a new model in this way can often lead to needing fewer formulas.
My Use of excel outside work
I am a self-confessed excel geek and in my private life I use excel for many purposes including the creation of games such as Sudoku helper, Fantasy football league, Fantasy cricket and even a small motor racing game. In future updates on this site I will post a series of articles showing you how to develop such a game. Although these are fun applications of excel, they still use the same principles and methods that would be employed in creating a business applications.