Meeting Etiquette

“Hi. Bob joined”

“Hi. Susan joined”

(Meeting begins.) 

“Hi. Joe joined.  Sorry I’m late. Blah blah blah”

“Bob could you explain blah blah blah?”

“Bob?”

“Bob, are you there?”

“Oh sorry, I was on mute and had a complete conversation with myself.”

“Let me begin again, so at a high level the synergy has been blah blah blah.”

“This is a great idea Bob, but does team orange have the bandwith for this out of the box thinking or should we table this conversation so that we can circle back with them for a pow wow on this topic so that we can move the needle with this project?”

“Let’s run it up the flagpole.”

We have all been in those meetings where if only we had a bingo board filled with phrases that should not be spoken at a meeting, we could have called bingo within the first couple of minutes.  If you aren’t sure what these phrases are check out the 9 most annoying phrases people use at work article. 

I used them all above.  You know you have likely said them, by accident of course.  Beyond avoiding the use of the 9 most annoying phrases at work, here are the unwritten rules of meeting etiquette. 

  1. Be on time.  Everyone around you is busy and made it to the meeting on time. 
  2. Introduce everyone in the room.  If you are meeting with a reoccurring group, this may not be necessary each meeting.  Business etiquette rules state that you should begin with the highest-ranking attendee. 
  3. Considering announcing yourself on a call or not.  Hosting a meeting in 2020 generally occur over Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc where everyone can see who is on the phone.  Consider if you need to announce yourself.  Question if you should announce yourself during the middle of someone speaking when you are late or simply wait for a break in the conversation.  A pro tip for the meeting host, do a roll call at the beginning of the meeting. 
  4. Consider if a meeting is truly necessary and avoid last minute meetings.  Surprise meetings rarely achieve the anticipated level of productivity.  At times these ad-hoc meetings are necessary.  However, if employees are always on the lookout for the last-minute meeting, they aren’t focusing 100% on their work.  
  5. Emails are great but sometimes a meeting is better.  Does there appear to be confusion?  If so, pick up the phone and speak with the person. If there are more people involved, schedule a short meeting to clear up the confusion. 
  6. Be prepared.  Consider either sending out an agenda in advance or outlining the agenda within the body of the appointment.  Explain the background of why you are meetings and the goals or purpose of the meeting.  Unless this is an information giving meeting, send out the documents in advance so that the attendees have a chance to familiarize themselves with the information.  Agendas should be sent at least the day before.  Do not send out an agenda 5 minutes before the meeting starts. 
  7. Speak loudly but do not interrupt others (unless it’s the only way to be heard).  Often attendees have great points and ideas, but nobody can hear them.  Be sure to speak loud enough so that everyone can hear.  However, do not interrupt the speaker.  Wait for a natural break in the speaker’s presentation.  Ask questions through out the meeting unless you are told to hold all questions for the end. 
  8. Put your phone away (link to the triple dog dare).  If only it was proper etiquette to take someone’s phone and throw it out the window when they are scrolling through Facebook during a finance meeting, l would have tossed a lot of phones out the window.  Studies have shown that even if your phone is on silent and screen down, you are distracted.   
  9. Bring a drink but nothing more.  Please do not bring reheated fish to a meeting.  If you plan on eating, make sure the whole group is ok with it.  If you schedule a meeting during lunch time, include a note in your meeting for others to bring their lunch to your working lunch meeting.
  10. Push in your seat.  If you are reading this article, you have likely graduated from Kindergarten and do not need someone to sing the Clean Up Song for Children at the end of a meeting.  Your coworkers are not your personal cleaning team.  Their job is not to clean up your mess or push in your seat. 
  11. End the meeting early.  Again, everyone around you is busy and do not appreciate being put behind schedule.

What would you add to the list of meeting etiquette? 

How to Build an Effective Presentation

Have you been asked to present?  Are you looking to start presenting?  Worried about where to begin?  In this article, I am going to explain the Do’s and Don’ts on presenting.  Some of my tips are based upon my personal experience presenting as well as attending countless presentations over the years. 

empty chairs in theater
https://unsplash.com/photos/ewGMqs2tmJI

The Don’ts: These are usually the easiest to list because we can all think back to a bad presentation that we attended. 

  1. Start on time and end on time.  Nobody wants the presentation to go longer than expected.  Presentations usually stand between the attendees’ lunch/end of the day/break/next presentation.  Take a clock with a large screen to set it up in front of you so that you can keep tabs on the time.  Aim to end about 3-5 minutes earlier to allow for questions. 
  2. Avoid tangents.  Be clear on what you plan to present on and what attendees can expect to learn.  Tangents usually happen when attendees ask questions or somehow you go off script.  Some questions are totally on point and support your presentation.  Others, not so much.  Before you answer questions be sure the questions and answers support your presentation.  Refer to #1 above. 
  3. Never comment on the font size.  If you need to comment on the font size being hard to read for those in the back row, you have too much information on a slide.  Slides are meant to be highlights, not what you should be saying. Use the notes section in PowerPoint instead for your script.   If a slide takes longer than a couple seconds for the attendees to comprehend, it’s too much information.
  4. Do not read your slides.  Attendees came to learn from you, not to attend story hour where they are read to.  At times it may be necessary to read a direct quote from your slides.  Keep the reading of the slides to a minimum.  
  5. Do not talk fast.  You should come to your presentation prepared to fill your time slot, not race through your slides because you have too much to cover.  Refer to #1 above. 
  6. Do not use Clipart.  Clipart generally looks pretty 1990’s, outdated, and cheesy.  Avoid the clipart all together. 
  7. Do not whine.  Tired?  Sick?  Do not bring either up.  Do your best to be upbeat and enthusiastic as possible.  Your attendees are at your presentation to learn, not to listen to you complain. 
  8. Do not turn your back to the audience.  The Queen of England has a rule that you always face her out of respect.  Do the same for your attendees.  A brief glace to the presentation behind you is fine but keep it very brief. 

The Do’s:  Think back to an awesome presentation you attended.  What did you enjoy the most? 

  1. Do start and end on time.  Being mindfully of your attendees’ schedules shows respect. 
  2. Do Answer attendee questions.  Before you answer an attendees’ question, determine if you should take time answering the question at that point or if you should ask the attendee to chat with you after the presentation.  If you need to talk about the question afterwards, always acknowledge the question when you respond by thanking the attendee for asking the question and admit that you will need to chat afterwards.  Remember #1 above. 
  3. Do think minimalist when you create your slides.  Less is more.  Keep your slides clean and simple.  The attendees should not get lost on where to look on a slide.  Research suggests that it should take less than 10 seconds for the attendees to comprehend a slide regardless of the complexity of the topic.
  4. Do determine your top 3-5 points that you want attendees to learn in advance.  You are not going to be able to cover 100% of your topic in 50 minutes.  Identify 3-5 points that you believe every attendee should learn and remember about your topic. 
  5. Do identify the ‘What’s in it for me?’ for your attendees.  Connect to your attendees.  One way that I recently connected with my attendees is to specifically call out their department during my presentation.  Of course, what I was saying was positive and supportive, it helped keep everyone focused on the topic by relating it to areas that they worked with daily.  Your presentation should mirror a story. 
  6. Do make your presentation title a Tweetable title.  In less than 140 characters, your attendees should know what they should expect to learn from your presentation. 
  7. Do Practice, Practice, Practice.  When you deliver your presentation, you should have practiced enough that just a quick peek at the slide will remind you of what you planned to say. 
  8. Do move around a little.  Avoid standing behind a podium.  Get out in front of your audience and move a little bit.  Don’t move around like a toddler on a sugar rush but move a bit.  In addition to physically moving, make eye contact through out the presentation.  Look at the attendees when you speak.  It makes the presentation a bit more personal. 

What would you add to the do’s and don’ts list?

How to Start Using Access

Sometimes Excel just can’t handle the volume of data compounded by formulas.  You try to make Excel work, but your computer freezes, and then Excel stops responding.  Now you just lost all your work and must redo hours of work.  Frustrated?  I have been there.  It is why I taught myself how to use Access. 

Access could be intimidating.  It’s new territory.  Its logic is similar yet different than Excel.  But it can handle massive amounts of data and formulas with ease.

Before we get into the “how to” of Access, let’s go over the data limitations of Excel and Access.  Depending on the scope of the project, I will look at the raw data to decide if I should complete the remaining work in Excel or Access. 

Excel Limitation:

  • 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns per worksheet/tab
  • 17,179,869,184 cells per worksheet/tab
  • 32,767 characters per worksheet/tab
  • Number of worksheets/tabs is limitless depending on your computer’s available memory

Access Limitations:

  • Data exceeding 2 gigabytes
https://unsplash.com/photos/KgLtFCgfC28

When to Use Access – The Must:  The scope of work and amount of data exceeds Excel’s limitations, or the amount of formulas will likely cause Excel to crash. 

When to Use Access – The Other Times:  Beyond looking at Excel limitations, Access is a fantastic resource when you have re-occurring data files or you have data files that will continue to grow over the year or indefinitely. 


Part 1:  Creating a Database and Importing Data

How to Use:  There are several ways to start building an Access database because Access can be linked to Excel, other Access Databases, text files, etc.  In this article I am going to keep it basic by linking the database to Excel files.  The goal of this section is to import two data sets.

Excel Worksheets/Tabs are like Access Tables/Queries

  1. Select a folder to keep your Access database.  It is important that the folder and its path do not change.  If it changes, you risk losing or breaking your Access database. 
  2. Open your Access database.  You will find a fairly blank screen. 
  1. Click on Create.  Then click on Table.  The following should appear. 
  1. Right click on Table1.  Click on Import.  Select Excel.  Note you can use any of the options to develop a Table.  However, for this article let’s keep it basic by linking the database to Excel files.
  1. When the above pops up, you want to search for the file that you are linking to this Access database by using the Browse button.  Select the third button.  This option allows you to refresh the Database with minimal work.  Finally click OK.
  1. For this article, we are going to use the Access defaults.  You can click next until the end or click finish.  When the pop-up appears, click ok. 

Pop-up:

Repeat Steps 3 to 6 to import/link additional tables.

Note: When adding additional tables, Access may ask if you want to create a primary key.  In this example, the primary key is the customer number.  We do not need Access to assign an additional primary key.  Select No Primary Key.

Note:  You can choose to Save Import Steps.  For the purpose of this article, we will not be saving the import steps.


Part 2: Linking Access Tables to Create a Query

How to Use:  In this section we will be linking Access Tables to create a Query.  Think of a Query as a consolidation of data and linking is like an Excel VLOOKUP.  The goal of this section is to incorporate the Last Order – Invoice Amount and Sales Rep # fields from the second data set into the first data set. 

  1. Click on Create.  Click on Query Design.  Select both Tables, click Add, and then click Close.
  1. Select the fields in Client 1.  Drag the field names into the first, top left box. 
  1. Click on Customer Number in the Client 1 box.  Drag the Customer Number field over from the Client 1 to the Customer Number field in the Client 2 box.
    • What just happened?  You linked the data between the two tables by using the primary key AKA the Customer Number.  The primary key is a unique code where no two customers have the same customer number. 
    • When to change the link? Access defaults to only showing you data where there is a matching Customer Number field in both data sets.
  1. Now drag the remaining 2 fields in Client 2 next to the current fields below. 
  1. Click Run.  This is found in the upper left corner of Design banner.   The following query should appear.

Common Oops:

  1. Did a source file or database move OR change the name of the file or folder?  This is the most common oops. 
  2. Did a source file add additional fields or delete previously used fields? 

Would you like a copy of the sample data set?  If so, send me an email at bonniecasella@outlook.com with the title Access Sample Data Set. 

Future Access Topics:

  1. Creating fields and calculated fields
  2. Exporting to Excel and linking to Excel

What else would you like to do with Access? 


What Happens When the CFO asks a New Operations Manager a Finance Question?

What happens when the CFO asks a new operations manager a finance question? Congratulations you new operations manager!  You did it!  You got the promotion!  You are the new boss!  And now the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has just a few questions for you.  Where do you find the information to respond to the CFO? 

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Situation A – The Prepared New Operations Manager

In this situation, you were part of a clear succession planning and was looped into the CFO questioning long before taking on the new role.  Your predecessor took you to meetings, explained reports, and introduced to you to those within the company that can help you in your new role.   Your predecessor may have also suggested a class or two to help you improve skills.  You are well on your way to rocking your new role!

Situation B – The OH NO THE CFO JUST ASKED A QUESTION Operations Manager

Often the new operations manager is fantastic at their trade, knows the hands on how to, and gets the staffing well but only sort of gets the finance piece.   Your predecessor either did not think of succession planning or is no longer with your organization.  Either way, here you are.  You have an email from the CFO with just a few questions. 

What You Need to Know:

If you are the new operations manager, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Learn the basics to budgeting:  Regardless if your company does annual, quarterly, or rolling budgets, you need to know how your budget was built, what inputs you have control of, and where you can go to monitor your actual performance against the budget.  Think about your personal finances.  It is highly recommended that you spend less than what you make.  Operating in the red or negative might be ok for the short term but it is not sustainable in personal finances or business finances.   
  • Ask for someone to review systems with you one on one:  Most companies have some type of finance system that operations managers have access to on a regular basis.  Once you become familiar with what information resides in the system and how to access it, your role as an operations manager will be a little easier.  I strongly suggest looking for a how-to class within your company or asking a member of the finance team to sit with you one on one at your computer to learn the system. 
  • Income Statement, Profit and Loss Statement, P&L Statement, Statement of Earnings, Statement of Operations:  It’s all the same thing.  Each person and company may call this report  by a different name, but this report is the holy grail of reports.  You need to know how much revenue you are generating and how much you are spending in expenses.  This is the report for you to catch billing issues.  For example, did you sell 100 widgets but only have the revenue from selling 10 widgets?  This report will also show you where you are spending money and how much.  Be sure to check your expenses monthly, sometimes something could accidently be charged incorrectly to your department. 
  • Productivity:  If your department is held to productivity standards, you need to learn the ins and outs of what and how each action and hour is counted. 
  • Here are some questions you should be asking:
    • What are the benchmarks? Is your department benchmark in minutes or widget?
    • Where did the benchmarks come from?  Are the benchmarks sourced from a national association?  Do your benchmarks change?  If so, how often will they change?
    • What actions are considered productive vs. which actions are considered non-productive?  Do are all steps in the widget making process counted? 
    • When are hours considered productive vs. when are hours considered non-productive?  For example, does vacation or FMLA count as productive or non-productive?  What about training and education? 

If you are an operations manager, what is one tip you would give to a new operations manager? 

“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.”

John A. Simone, Sr.

Excel: Can Excel Classify For you? Yes! Nested IF Statements

Have you ever been asked to classify information into made up categories?  Just last week I tasked in determining if there were cases where a person had 1 unit, 2 units, or 3+ units billed of a certain charge.  I have also had to classify time spent on cases into various groups such as less than 24 hours, 24-48 hours, and 48+ hours.  It does not matter if you look at cases, billed units, or widgets; Excel is here to make it easier for you!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Before we get into the nested if statement, let’s start with a refresher or feel free to skip to the nested if statement section. 

Basic IF Statement Refresher:

When to use:  Maybe you want to classify invoices by over $500 or under $500.  An IF statement allows you to check the invoice amount and then assign the statement of over $500 or under $500. 

How to Do It: 

  1. Let’s start in the cell next to the invoice amount.  Type the following:

=IF(B2<500,”Less than $500″,”More than $500″)

Breakdown of the Formula: 

  • Logical_Test – this is the piece that you determine what you are testing.  In this example, if the invoice is less than $500, then the invoice classification is “Less than $500.”  If it is not less than $500, then it is “More than $500.”
  • (value_if_true) – this is what you want to say if the logical test is true. 
  • (value_if_false) – this is what you want to say if the logical test is false.

Common Oops: 

  1. The sign is wrong in the “Logical_Test” section of the formula.
  2. You have a number in text format.

Using And/Or in the Logical_Test:

When to Use: There are times when you need to determine if an invoice is over $500 and the invoice was paid more than 30 days from the invoice date.  OR you need to determine if an invoice is under $500 or the invoice date is older than a specific date.  You would want to use this function if you wanted to test more than 1 item. 

Pro Tip:  You can test more than 2 items at a time. 

How to Do It:

Note that we are leaving the value_if_false section blank to simplify this scenario by placing in double quotes.  The double quotes make the false value blank.

AND(logical_test) – You wanted to know which invoices were over $500 and paid more than 31+ days from the invoice date.  The statement would be true if the invoice was $501 and paid 31 days after the invoice date. 

You have two options with regards to determining if the invoice was paid later than 31+ days from the invoice date. 

  1. Add in a Days Difference Column and perform the subtraction of Paid Date – Invoice Date.  This will calculate the number of days between the paid date and invoice date.  Use the following formula:

=IF(AND(C2>500,G2>30),”Over $500/Paid 31+ Days”,””)

  1. Build the logical test within the if statement.  Use the following formula:

=IF(AND(C2>500,D2-B2>30),”Over $500/Paid 31+ Days”,””)

Notice that the results are the same. 

Pro Tip:  Double check the if statements to confirm that the results you are receiving match to what you expected to see. 

OR(logical_test) – To complete this section switch the AND to an OR. 

=IF(OR(C2>500,G2>30),”Over $500 or Paid 31+ Days”,””)

=IF(OR(C2>500,D2-B2>30),”Over $500 or Paid 31+ Days”,””)

Common Oops: 

  1. You don’t take the time to double check the logical.  DOUBLE CHECK YOUR WORK!

Nested IF Statement:

When to use:  Going back to my task last week.   I was asked to classify cases based upon if a person had 1 unit, 2 units, or 3+ units billed of a certain charge.  The IF statements described above would only be able to classify the cases into 2 groups.  Using a nested IF statement allows you to classify the cases into several groups.

How to Do It: 

  1. Let’s start in the cell next to the Unit Description.  Type the following:

=IF(B2=1,”1 Unit”,IF(B2=2,”2 Units”,”3+ Units”))

Breakdown of the Formula: 

  1. Logical_Test – You start with this piece.  This is the first classification that you want to test.  In this example, if 1 unit was billed, then 1 Unit is listed as the classification.  If it is more than 1-unit, further testing occurs with the second IF statement.  In the second IF statement, if 2 units were billed, then 2 Units is listed as the classification.  If that statement is false, the default is to say 3+Units. 
  2. (value_if_true) – this is what you want to say if the logical test is true. 
  3. (value_if_false) – this is what you want to say if the logical test is false.

Say you want to break the classification down into different groups.  This is going to require an additional if statement as well as the use of AND. 

  1. 1 unit
  2. 2 – 5 units
  3. 6 – 9 units
  4. 10+ units
  1. Let’s start in the cell next to the Unit Description.  Type the following:

=IF(B5=1,”1 Unit”,IF(AND(B5>1,B5<6),”2 – 5 Units”,IF(AND(B5>5,B5<10),”6 – 9 Units”,”10+ Units”)))

Logical_Test – You start with this piece.  This is the first classification that you want to test. 

  1. In this example, the first IF statement questions if 1 unit was billed, then 1 Unit is listed as the classification.  If it is more than 1-unit, further testing occurs with the second IF statement. 
  2. In the second IF statement, if more than 1 and less than 6 units were billed, then 2 – 5 Units is listed as the classification. 
  3. In the third IF statement, if more than 5 and less than 10 units were billed, then 6 – 9 Units is listed as the classification.  If that is false, then the default is to list 10+ Units

Common Oops: 

  1. You do not put enough end parenthesis at the end of the formula.  Don’t worry, Excel will add them. 
  2. You want to type a text statement like 1 Unit, and you forgot to put the text in parenthesis. 
  3. You are attempting to list too many IF statements in a single cell.  Excel currently has a 7 IF statement max.  There are ways around this!  Ask me how.   

“Success is determined by how

best you can utilize your time”

Sunday Adelaja

Excel: Complex If Statement

Earlier this month I wrote about harnessing the power of excel for vlookups, conditional formatting, and if statements here. Today I want to provide additional tips and tricks for the “if” function so that you can maximize your time.

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

Before we get into the additional tips and tricks, let’s have a quick refresher of the basic formula.

=if(logical_test,[value_if_true],[value_if_false])

=IF(B2<500,”Less than $500″,”More than $500″)

Breakdown of the Formula: 

  • Logical_Test – this is the piece that you determine what you are testing.
  • (value_if_true) – this is what you want to say if the logical test is true. 
  • (value_if_false) – this is what you want to say if the logical test is false.

Using And/Or in the Logical_Test:

When to Use: There are times when you need to determine if an invoice is over $500 and the invoice was paid more than 30 days from the invoice date.  OR you need to determine if an invoice is under $500 or the invoice date is older than a specific date.  You would want to use this function if you wanted to test more than 1 item. 

Pro Tip:  You can test more than 2 items at a time. 

How to Do It:

Note that we are leaving the value_if_false section blank to simplify this scenario by placing in double quotes.  The double quotes make the false value blank.

AND(logical_test) – You wanted to know which invoices were over $500 and paid more than 31+ days from the invoice date.  The statement would be true if the invoice was $501 and paid 31 days after the invoice date. 

You have two options with regards to determining if the invoice was paid later than 31+ days from the invoice date. 

  1. Add in a Days Difference Column and perform the subtraction of Paid Date – Invoice Date.  This will calculate the number of days between the paid date and invoice date.  Use the following formula:

=IF(AND(C2>500,G2>30),”Over $500/Paid 31+ Days”,””)

  1. Build the logical test within the if statement.  Use the following formula:

=IF(AND(C2>500,D2-B2>30),”Over $500/Paid 31+ Days”,””)

Notice that the results are the same. 

Pro Tip:  Double check the if statements to confirm that the results you are receiving match to what you expected to see. 

OR(logical_test) – To complete this section switch the AND to an OR. 

=IF(OR(C2>500,G2>30),”Over $500 or Paid 31+ Days”,””)

=IF(OR(C2>500,D2-B2>30),”Over $500 or Paid 31+ Days”,””)

Common Oops: 

  1. You don’t take the time to double check the logical.  DOUBLE CHECK YOUR WORK!

Success in not final.  Failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

Excel: Tips and Tricks for Pivot Tables

Congratulations!  You did it!  You built a pivot table that didn’t blow up.  Now you are looking at the pivot table and wondering if Excel could get the pivot table to calculate a field or if you could stop Excel from splitting a date into pieces and list just the date.  The answer it YES EXCEL CAN and it can do even more! 

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

RefresherHow to Build Pivot Tables and Charts

Issue #1:  Calculating a field within a pivot table

When to use it:  Say you have a revenue field and a total invoice field, and you wanted to calculate the collection percent by customer number as well as show their total amounts ordered and paid.  You suspect some customers have a history of taking longer to pay.  The formula you would use is revenue divided by total invoice. You want Excel to do all the work.  SMART MOVE PRO!

How to do it:

  1. Build the pivot table to show customer number in the row box with invoice amount and payment received fields in the valules box.  Your pivot table should look like this.
  1. Under the “Analyze” banner select “Fields, Items, & Set” and then “Calculated Fields”.
  1. This is what pops up initially.  You have the ability to call your calculated field anything you want to as well as build the formula. 

Pro Tip:  I suggest that you name the field and include a short description.  After being asked in a couple of meetings how a field was calculated, I decided to always add in a short description in the field name.  Leaves the guess work and panic out of the meeting. 

  1. When you build the formula, remove the 0 and then double click on the field names as you build your formula.  Excel needs to keep those apostrophes.  Here is what it should look like.
  1. Click add and then ok.  You should see your new field listed to the right in the PivotTable Fields banner. 
  1. Excel took the liberty of adding that field right into the values box and summed up the collection percentages in a currency format.  This is an easy fix.  Right click anywhere in the “Sum of Collection % (Payments/Order)” column and select number formatting.  Select the percentage option. 
  1. Click ok and check out your new calculated field. 

Pro Tip:  Double check that the math works out the way that it should. 

Bonus Pro Tip:  Rename all of your field headers.  If you want to rename a field header to its exact name, simply add a space before or after the name.  Excel does not allow you to keep it exactly to what is listed in the PivotTable Fields banner. 

Issue #2:  Stop Excel from splitting the date into pieces

When to use it:  Any time you need to insert a date into a pivot table and Excel breaks it into pieces like quarter, month, etc. 

How to do it:  This part is very easy to fix! Right click on the quarter or month and select ungroup.  You just nailed it!

Issue #3:   Conditional Formatting in a Pivot Table

When to use it:  After you calculated the collection percentages in Issue #1, you decided that adding a red highlight to those customers that paid less than 80% of their total invoices would stand out better.  It would also help others see the point quicker. 

Pro Tip:  Just like pyrotechnics in movies and shows add drama, so do colors on pivot tables and charts.  Think about the message you are trying to convey.  Remember the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. 

How to do it:

  1. Highlight the area of the pivot table you want to add in the conditional formatting to.  For this example, let’s highlight the collection percentages.
  2. Under the “Home” banner select “Conditional Formatting” then “Highlight Cells Rules” and then “Less than.”
  1. Type in 80%.  You might recall back in high school math that 80% equals 0.80.  Excel uses 0.80 in this section or 80%.
  1. Click ok and show off your new pivot table.   Looks like there are some issues with collection payments. 

Value what you do and add value by what you do.

Healthcare Provider