This is unquestionably the world’s most popular application for spreadsheets and data handling. Capable of intricate functions, graphical output and data manipulation, it’s got more great functionality than its millions of users know about. The software your Excel consultant will be focusing on, and similar OpenSource applications, are sometimes hard to get to grips with beyond basic functionality, so lots of companies don’t get the best from it.
The consultants can really help in this regard. Though recognized qualifications for this and other Microsoft Office applications aren’t in place, there are good developers armed with years of experience to help maximise personal and business uses of the package. They are there to help over macros, complex formulae or even to develop whole bespoke applications.
Time and repetition saving tricks include the use of templates and macros. Then, pivot tables or charts are there to be mastered. There’s custom reporting, exporting to other programs and creating graphs for presentations. There’s almost no end to what it does, but most users rarely know all the great functionality without great training.
Here’s how to find a great consultant. A good place to begin is Microsoft’s own MVP program: standing for Most Valued Professionals. MVP are listed on the website and they are a recognised community of experts and consultants. Microsoft gives accolades to professionals that, whilst not working for Microsoft necessarily, share their vast knowledge through the wide online community.
It’s sad but true that extensive directories listing consultants aren’t there. You won’t find an association of accredited professionals. But after searching for an MVP, consider putting your query over Excel into Google or another search engine. You’ll find in the results several ICT discussion forums giving answers to the easier queries. You can see then which experts give the best advice regularly.
Then, check all viable, good consultants out. Visit any websites and view their social networking profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. See samples of past work. Establish contact and determine whether your Excel project is something they are suited for. Ask about hourly rates and past clients. This can all take place by email or personal message, but should you want direct contact, try Skype or telephoning them.
The good news? Most jobs, whether developing most applications or solving problems can be done remotely, computer to computer without paying travel expenses. Collaborative tools like FTP, walk throughs and video conferencing are great for remote work to be best completed. Your hired consultant can log in to see all live key strokes and your screen, with your permission.
Quite a lot of Excel consultants don’t work typical office hours and may do this to supplement another day job. So be sure this kind of arrangement is OK with you and nail down some realistic timescales. Don’t forget, because you’re working remotely you can employ and Excel consultant from anywhere on the globe. Thus, if you do want them to be working during your typical office hours and day, look at those who work in time zones that compliment that.
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