Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Love - Number 1

I've always admitted to being a great copycat. And the person I've been copying longest in my life? This girl. So, in typical little-sister fashion, I decided to copy her idea of doing some things that I love during the month of February. And it's even February 1st - I haven't missed a day yet! It's got to be a record for me.

So, for this initial February Love (my version of Amy's {What I love} series) my topic? Excel.

You see, February is official Crazy Month for me. At my work, we have all sorts of testing that we do. Because of regulations set by Uncle Sam (don't we all have an uncle named Sam?), any company who offers a 401K-type plan must not discriminate in favor of people who make more than a certain amount of money each year. These folks can't be allowed to contribute more than 2% more than the regular folks. Of course, this isn't on an individual basis - but over all. The ones who make money are averaged and the ones who don't are averaged and they have to be less than 2% difference. Now, if there is more than a 2% difference, then the plan administrator has to do refunds. And refunds have to be mailed by March 15th, according to our uncle.  (I lost you at "401K-plan," didn't I?)

So. Basically, I spend all of February balancing what amounts to a giant checkbook, checking that what our employers think they've sent over the year is what they've really sent. Then if we do the other test that compares the Haves with the Have Nots and they are different and we have to do refunds, we know all our ducks are in a row. Whew!

And most of this lovely process is done in Excel. I spend my time sorting, copying, pasting, doing formulas, creating prn files to take the data into other programs. I become best friends with Excel. And I love every second of it. We even have a joke about the "microsoft creep," which is when you are highlighting a column or row for several hundred or thousand cells. It tends to "creep" either glacially slow or so fast that you've overshot the bottom of your data by hundreds of rows before you can blink. Whenever this happens, I think of the other "microsoft creep", aka Bill Gates, and get a little giggle. Spreadsheet humor. It's fun.

Excel, I love you. Your uniform cells and your ability to sort with filters make me giddy. I love highlighting an entire spreadsheet and clicking between the first two columns and making all the columns as wide as their data (swoon.) I love that you warn me of circular formulas each time I open up my checkbook register spreadsheet - you're watching out for me, even if I can't find that damn circular formula. It's true you can't change the case of text without me copying into your sister Word, but you still make me happy. Thanks for being there for me, every day in February and all the year through.

Do you have spreadsheet love? Want to rock my world by telling me your favorite use of Excel? I can't wait to find out.


Kasandra Mathieson said...

Had to laugh at this Becky! I started using Excel about 4 years ago when my boss showed me how! I still really don't know a lot, but love how it can keep track of things. My favourite is that I have figured out how to use it to merge envelopes for my Christmas cards!! I really should take a class....

Chris Selander said...

I love Excel too!! I use it every day at work. It's what keeps me organized. The littlest thing in it gets me giddy: being able to fill in the numbers I need just by dragging it down. Also love being able to easily count many rows :)