Spreadsheets Essay

This essay has a total of 1663 words and 7 pages.

Spreadsheets


Introduction In years past, every well-run corporation undoubtedly had a written business
plan. Oftentimes, these plans were considered by many to be an exercise in frustration, as
they were laboriously considered, written, then stored on the company's library shelf
until the next business planning cycle. The last few decades have seen a radical change in
the way companies do their planning. More often than not, the "old" business plan - though
still produced and of value in its own right - is given less attention than the newer
Strategic Plan. Unlike the Business Plan, which tends to be a very short document, the
Strategic Plan is likely to be much more substantial and detailed. The Business Plan
provides the foundation and framework for the Strategic Plan.1 Senior business managers
are often so occupied with immediate issues that they can easily lose site of the
long-term objectives of the business - objectives upon which the business can thrive if
attained or fail completely if not. Because of this, a Strategic Plan today is a virtual
necessity. Most managers tend to see the Strategic Plan as a 'living' document; one that,
with careful foresight, consideration and development is written at the start of a
business planning period, then reworked as circumstances within the company and business
climate change throughout the planning period.2 The writing and preparation of a Strategic
Plan is an important effort, demonstrating that careful consideration has been given to
the business's development; however, the ultimate goal of the Strategic Plan is its own
realization. With the advent of the personal computer and spreadsheet development, the
Strategic Planning process today is made easier with the many current spreadsheet programs
available to aid in the Plan' A Short History of the Spreadsheet The term "spread sheet"
(nowadays "spreadsheet) has a long history, beginning with the non-computerized version, a
reference to which was made in accounting books from the early 1950's to describe a
worksheet providing a two-way analysis of accounting data (i.e.


an accounting matrix in which the columns and rows constitute either debit and credit
sides)3 In thinking about the history of the spreadsheet, two important men stand out. In
the early 1960s, Richard Mattessich of the University of California at Berkeley pioneered
computerized spread sheets for business accounting. As the forerunners of today's
spreadsheet programs for PC's such as Lotus 1-2-3, Excel, etc., these spread sheets
contained use of matrices, (budget) simulation, and, most important, the calculation to
support each matrix cell."4 Although Mattessich's work was mentioned in economic and
computer literature as well as accounting literature, computerized spreadsheets only
became popular in the 1980's after the introduction.


In the late 1970's as computer manufacturers sought to sell their new machines to the
public, they had yet to convince anyone that the machines would be useful to the average
person. What real application could the heavy metal boxes possibly have? Daniel Bricklin,
often referred to as "The Father of the Spreadsheet," thought the same and went on to lead
innovations in software development, which would revolutionize the way businesses - and
the world - would run.5 Using Excel Spreadsheets in Strategic Planning Information systems
have driven the vast, relatively recent changes in how companies do business. From
software selection through full deployment, consulting companies now thrive worldwide
catering to a seemingly endless business market. Though a wide variety of spreadsheet
softwares are available in today's market, including company-specific individualized
softwares written and tailored for a particular organization's needs, a popular, common
spreadsheet software widely used in the business community is Excel. Excel is a powerful,
easy-to-use software for preparing financial spreadsheets and can be the primary software
used in the financial portions of any well-written Strategic Plan. Basic Excel program
add-ins such as Exl-Plan, a comprehensive financial projection, budget, business planning
software which operates from Excel for Windows versions 5, 7, 8, 95, 97 or higher6, and
Analyze-It which includes 14 parametric & 17 non-parametric procedures for calculating
descriptives, comparing means, correlat In creating the detailed Strategic Plan, the
manager or planner can utilize Excel spreadsheets to build a model first from the
principles of the Business Plan. A Strategic Planning spreadsheet should be developed to
assess the business's current internal strengths and weaknesses, and external threats and
opportunities. A long term vision for the company (3-5 years time) should be prepared,
written in present tense and address the following: Vision: What will the business look
like? Mission/Purpose: What will the business really be doing? What activities will it
perform, where, how, etc? Values: Statement of corporate values and beliefs Objectives:
Long-term objectives (primary reasons for being involved in the business) Strategies: Key
strategies for business and major functional areas (build on strengths, resolve threats,
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