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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sena

12 Excel Functions Every Accountant Needs to Know

As an accountant, Microsoft Excel is one of your most essential tools. The software provides a versatile platform for managing data and performing calculations. With Excel, you can streamline your accounting processes, track income and expenses, create financial statements, and manage accounts receivable and payable.

The most productive accountants know how to make the most of Excel's powerful features. While a learning curve is associated with using Excel for accounting, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

In this blog post, 12 professionals share their most essential functions in Excel:

Sequence Function

Using the row and column inputs, the SEQUENCE function enables accountants to create a list of sequential numbers in an array that can be either one- or two-dimensional. It can be used on its own to generate an array inside another more complicated formula or to introduce an array directly into the worksheet.

Eric McGee, TRGDatacenters

Enable Compatible Spreadsheet Shortcuts

Every accountant will be very familiar with both excel and google sheets. One thing that gives me a headache, however, is having to remember the different formulas for functions between the two. One pro tip I think everyone needs to know is that you can apply excel shortcuts to your google sheet by clicking "Enable compatible spreadsheet shortcuts" in the "Keyboard shortcuts" menu. Enabling this applies all Excel shortcuts to your google sheet so you don't have to constantly look up the different formulas. This is especially helpful for those lifelong excel users who are having to migrate to Google Sheets.

Sacha Ferrandi, Source Capital

Named Ranges

Named ranges in Excel are an extremely powerful and underutilized function that can save accountants a ton of time. Named ranges allow you to give a range of cells a name, which can then be used in formulas. For example, if you had a Named Range called "Revenue," you could easily reference the cells in that range in a formula without having to remember the specific cell address. Named ranges make it easy to reference data that is located in different parts of your spreadsheet. This can save a lot of time and frustration, especially when working with large spreadsheets. Every accountant should learn how to use named ranges in Excel!

Lorien Strydom,

Aggregate Function

The AGGREGATE Function returns an aggregate calculation, such as MAX, AVERAGE, COUNT, and others, and it has the ability to ignore any null values, such as errors and hidden rows. This function is essential for accountants because it can run up to 19 separate functions, each of which calculates the specific return result that you're looking for.

Max Whiteside, Breaking Muscle

Quick Analysis Function

Every accountant must know the Quick Analysis function to get anything done. This function is the easiest method for quickly accessing and analyzing data in spreadsheets. Start by highlighting a data set, then click the corner of the set to open a quick menu that acts as a shortcut for functions that format, compute, or run analysis on the data selected. For novices to Excel, Quick analysis is a quick, easy option for new users who have not memorized all the various functions. Without a doubt, quick analysis is the most versatile Excel tool, able to create forecasts, draft charts, or organize data for fast, easy results.

Shawn Munoz, Pure Relief

Sumproduct Function

One of the most frequently used functions in Excel is SUMPRODUCT. It is also regarded as the most flexible because of its ability to combine and count multiple criteria. SUMPRODUCT adds up the products of multiple ranges or arrays. It may be used in any version of Excel without any special treatment, making the transfer of data from an older Excel file to a current one simple and accurate. This is another reason it is important and valuable. The formula for this function is =SUMPRODUCT(array1, [array2],...)

Josh Tyler, Tell Me Best

Formula Evaluation

How often have you copied the formula to multiple cells to find it’s not working? Or maybe you simply don’t understand the procedure you’re using? Such scenarios are unacceptable in an accountant’s work, making the formula evaluation function essential to know. This option takes you through the calculation step by step. The goal is to help you figure out what is wrong with your calculation and support you in finding potential errors. Formula evaluation is also functional when someone wants to better understand how the formula works and how calculations are made.

How to do this? Select the formula you want to test, click “Formulas,” then choose “Evaluate formula.” You’ll see a window that will allow you to make the evaluation. Your next steps will depend on the result of the test.

Nina Paczka, Resume Now

Sparklines Function

Sparklines function allows you to display tiny charts inside individual cells. It is a great option when you want to show trends in a series of values in a compact form. For example, economic cycles, increases and decreases, or minimum and maximum values. Visual representation of data can take many forms–bar charts, line charts, or basic win/loss charts. Sparklines are often used in reports, dashboards, scoreboards, and presentations. Charts are a brilliant visual tool for sharing information quickly. Due to that fact, most accountants will find Sparklines really helpful, I believe.

Agata Szczepanek, Resume Now

Excel Templates

Instead of starting from scratch each time Excel is used, you can make use of templates instead. The time it takes to solve a problem can be cut in half if you are familiar with the growing number of Excel templates that are available for use with any version of Excel. When you click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab, you'll see an Insert command that gives you access to premade spreadsheets. Among the numerous available samples, amortization schedules are provided. Even if you don't want to start from scratch, you can save a completed worksheet as a template and use it as a starting point for future problem-solving sessions, eliminating the need to sift through the entire library of accessible templates.

Vincent Amodio, Icon Medical Centers

Vlookup Function

The VLOOKUP function enables you to retrieve data from a table based on specific criteria or a specific number or letter code. In my opinion, it is a helpful tool for accountants. Vertical is denoted by the "V." Therefore, the function will scan a column of data from top to bottom to see if it can identify a specific number or a close match to a number (for example), and then it will scan that row to get the data you're looking for. For instance, it may search up and down in a row of ID numbers to locate the correct person, then look across the 10th column to retrieve the person's birthdate.

James Crawford, DealDrop

Sort Function

The excel function which every accountant should be familiar with is “Sort”, a.k.a Sort by. As the name suggests, the ‘Sort’ function helps you dynamically sort a particular column based on your requirements. It can be in ascending or descending order; the sort function can be completed with just a few clicks.

For accountants that need to work with an extensive database of Employee’s yearly salary, their joining date, bonuses awarded to them and other data, the sort function can help them clean the data. The function also helps the accountant make insightful charts & pivot tables. Sort functions quickly summarize the mixed-up data and help make sound financial decisions.

Henry Abenaim, Fundingo

Excel Tools for Hypothetical Analysis

For hypothetical analysis, Excel provides three primary tools: Goal Seek, Data Tables, and the Scenario Manager. The Scenario Manager stands out as the most flexible of the three since it allows the user to set variables to different values depending on the scenario. Users can reference the cells that are changing across scenarios, assign a number to each scenario, and make side-by-side comparisons.

The Goal Seek function repeats a process until a specified goal is achieved. Finding the exact cell value you need to proceed with a collection of data is much facilitated by this method. Because the Data Table allows for the display of multiple scenarios at once, it can be used to boost efficiency while comparing multiple cases.

For analysts and one-person shops who prefer autonomous client contracts, Excel's expanded functionality beyond bookkeeping makes it a good tool for financial analytics of business development.

David Janssen, VPNOverview


In order to be an effective accountant, you need to be proficient in Microsoft Excel. The software provides a versatile platform for managing data and performing complex accounting calculations. In this blog post, we've looked at 12 essential Excel functions that all accountants need to know.

These are just a few of the Excel functions that can be extremely useful for productivity as an accountant. By becoming proficient in using these functions, you can save yourself a significant amount of time and effort in your work.


To learn more about how we can help you automate your accounting tasks with Excel, check out our Excel for Accountings Services!



1. Lack of awareness
2. Budgeting constraints
3. Status quo
4. Case study
5. Equilibrium
6. The remedy
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