I never knew Excel could do that!

“I Never Knew Excel Could do THAT!”

Spreadsheets have come a long way since they were invented in 1979!

They’re not the answer to everything … but they may well be the answer to more than you think because this is what we hear all the time:

“I Never Knew Excel Could do THAT!”


There are 3 classic mistakes organisations constantly make when they’re thinking about spreadsheets:

Mistake 1: “Everyone knows Excel”

Everyone can use Excel.  Even your mum can type numbers into boxes!  It’s easy … right?

But because everyone has it and can use it in some capacity, virtually everyone is self-taught, their knowledge is limited and they usually develop bad habits.

This leads to disorganised spreadsheets that are difficult to use, error-prone and inefficient and spreadsheets get a bad name.

The way most companies try to address this is by sending staff on a one-day course.

However, this has limited usefulness because it dumps a lot of information on staff in a very short space of time and doesn’t provide much opportunity to apply the new knowledge.

Furthermore, once the course is over, staff are left on their own to figure out how to apply what they’ve learned to what they do on a daily basis.

This is the first reason why people say “I Never Knew Excel Could do THAT!”

Mistake 2: “It’s just a Spreadsheet”

The greatest trick Microsoft ever pulled was convincing the world that Excel is just a spreadsheet!

“Excel is just a spreadsheet” so it’s not important … right?

Companies that adopt this view rarely take an objective, expert look at the spreadsheets in daily use to see what they’re doing or how they’re being used.  Yet there isn’t a company alive today that doesn’t depend heavily on spreadsheets to run their business!

If spreadsheets aren’t important, how come they run your business?

They’re only important when there’s an issue.  Then they’re REALLY important!

Maybe your staff should be saying “I Never Knew Excel Could do THAT!” a little less often?

Mistake 3: “You don’t need any Controls”

Spreadsheets are normally outside IT’s control.  All IT does is keep Excel running, install new versions and perhaps provide some technical support when users get out of their depth (e.g. connecting to a database).

This is both a strength, because users can do stuff for themselves (the main reason spreadsheets have been so successful), and a weakness, since they are uncontrolled and typical development standards and methods aren’t applied.

As a result of their misuse, some consider spreadsheets to be an evil virus that should be eradicated from the enterprise!

It’s cute when someone expresses the goal of eradicating spreadsheets … it will never happen!  They’re so useful, no company can live without them!

While we agree 100% that spreadsheets aren’t the answer to everything, companies shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Instead of trying to eradicate spreadsheets, companies would be far better off redirecting their efforts towards utilising spreadsheets properly.  This would achieve a far greater return, plus they’d have a much higher chance of success and maybe people would say “I Never Knew Excel Could do THAT!” a little less often.


PDF | Download the full report

to find out:

  • Why Excel is the most under-utilized software in the world
  • How Excel has more potential to benefit your business than you realise
  • 6 proven ways that will unlock Excel’s massive potential in your organisation


PDF | Download the full report