A. Januszewski

UTP University of Science and Technology (POLAND)
In small and medium-sized enterprises the Ms Excel spreadsheet is, next to the inventory system and book-keeping system, the most commonly applied IT tool. With no skills of using that tool, for many positions often you get no chances of employment.

Many years of the author's experience in teaching at various universities of economics and providing commercial training addressed to the employers, the employees and the unemployed demonstrate that teaching Excel should involve an application of specific business examples.

The aim of the article is to present the structure and the topic of a 182-hour course, developed by the author, showing Excel applications in managing small and medium-sized enterprises.

The course has been divided into 4 parts with a total of 11 topic modules of varies advancement levels. A full-version training is addressed to the beginners, with no knowledge of management and with no spreadsheet skills. An adequate selection of modules and detailed aspects can be useful for those who want to develop their knowledge further, learn new spreadsheet functions and tools as well as their application potential in various areas of corporate management.

Part one includes 3 basic modules. To apply those modules, in fact, you do not have to have any substantive educational background in terms of accounting and corporate management. Modules 1 and 2 cover a discussion of the principles of using the spreadsheet, basic arithmetic functions; numerical, content-wise and the date and time functions together with some simple examples of their applications. Module 3 presents the applications of conditional functions and shows a slightly higher level of complexity. The scenario for the first part execution includes proposals of a few dozen or so problems a majority of which shows the applications of the spreadsheet function in solving various problems in managing a small or medium-sized enterprise. Part two demonstrates the application of basic Ms Excel functions for calculations, analysis and planning. Each module includes a brief discussion of theory the acquisition of which is essential for a correct execution of the tasks proposed. Module 4 covers aspects with the calculations of costs and sale prises, while module 5 – aspects of the profitability analysis and the contribution margin statement. Module 6 covers planning of costs and revenues and the deviation analysis. Part three includes 3 pre-intermediate modules using, relatively simple, however very effective Excel tools; e.g. Goal seeking, Scenario Manager, pivot tables, and Solver. Optional part four includes 2 advanced modules. Module 10 presents advanced applications of Solver optimiser, and module 11 is addressed to those who want to learn the methods of investment effectiveness assessment and the potential of the financial spreadsheet functions.

According to the author, the course proposal demonstrated in the article can provide the grounds for trainings to cover Excel applications for corporate management. Finally, adequately selected aspects can be used in many syllabus courses offered at higher education schools of economics; Cost accounting, Controlling, Management accounting or Financial management, to mention just a few.