The Importance of Microsoft Excel in Banking
By Ken Burnside
Microsoft Excel is one of the fundamental computer programs used for accounting and financial services. It allows banks to respond more quickly to customer and client needs, to have better knowledge of the status of their financial assets, and allows a banker to service more clients with less work.
Data Entry and Automation
Banks make their money off of accurate record-keeping of financial assets. By using several features in Excel, including entering formulas once and cutting and pasting to new cells, and making cells with formulas that are read-only, Excel greatly reduces the time to make those records and the likelihood of errors.
Banking Related Excel Functions
Excel has a number of functions that are designed around invoicing, such as DATE, and EDATE. These functions allow banks to track when payments are due on loans and when to send out statements. They also can be used to track maturity dates on certificates of deposit.
Platform For Customized Applications
While Excel's functions (like EDATE) are very flexible, Excel also comes with Visual Basic for Applications, which allows automation of routine tasks, such as end of business day copying of data from workstations to a centralized accounting check point. Most banks have built thousands of macros and customized programs on top of Excel's functionality, which would cost millions of dollars to replace if they were done again from scratch.
Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.