Advanced Excel Skills: A Checklist to Hire Your Excel Expert

An Excel expert knows how to use Excel to its maximum benefit, making it even easier for everyone else in the company to see the data at a moment’s notice. Hiring an Excel expert to streamline your spreadsheets can increase your productivity and workflow. 

Marion Bernes
Marion Bernes
Copywriter
Advanced Excel Skills: A Checklist to Hire Your Excel Expert
Summary

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that anyone can use. It aims to make it easy to manage lists, numbers, and large amounts of data without overwhelming users. While it’s easy to input and export data, thousands of extra functions are available on the software. 

An Excel expert knows how to use Excel to its maximum benefit, making it even easier for everyone else in the company to see the data at a moment’s notice. Hiring an Excel expert to streamline your spreadsheets can increase your productivity and workflow. 

What Are Advanced Excel Skills?

Of course, before you start testing for these skills, it’s essential to know how to describe Excel skills. You don’t need to know how to do them (that’s what the expert is for), but you must know what you’re looking for in an expert. 

What are Considered Advanced Excel Skills? 

Advanced Excel users know how to manipulate the sheet to make data easier to read for everyone. Advanced Excel skills go beyond the basic functionality of entering data and using formulas in a spreadsheet. These skills are taught in a computer literacy course and can be learned in a few minutes online. 

Excel Skills Job Description

While basic and intermediate Excel users can use formulas and work with the data, advanced users can analyze data, make the spreadsheet work for them, and use Visual Basics for Applications (VBA) Programming. 

These skills aren’t learned in a five-minute YouTube video - an advanced user will have learned about Excel from the ground up, spending hours with spreadsheets. If the applicant tests well in these advanced excel features, they will likely prove an excellent data sheet expert. 

10 Advanced Excel Skills to Test For

Microsoft Excel offers hundreds of functions, tables, and ways to sort data. It’s nearly impossible to learn them all without years of practice. However, there are a few advanced Excel techniques that anyone claiming to be proficient should know. Here are the top 10 advanced skills to test. 

Many of these skills don’t seem like much, but when they are combined, they make a masterful Excel spreadsheet look easy. If you’re looking to hire someone to help you untangle your data, look for these ten advanced skills in Excel. 

Pivot Tables

Excel sheets can hold a lot of information, and it’s not always easy to parse. While searching and sorting are extremely basic skills, there are more complicated ways to keep data organized. One of these is by using pivot tables. 

Pivot tables will do whatever you program them to do. You can store subsets of data, sort them into smaller tables, or average a set of data into a subset. Whatever you choose to do with a pivot table will only increase the functionality and usability of the spreadsheet; overall, clearing away clutter and allowing you to see the most valuable data. 

Knowing pivot tables is an essential skill for mastering Excel. No matter what industry you are in, pivot tables can help sort the necessary data. If a candidate hasn’t mastered creating and editing a pivot table, they probably haven’t spent enough time in Excel to be an expert. 

SUMIF and COUNTIF

Functions and formulas are a crucial part of excel spreadsheets. You can add the sums of columns and rows and specific cells and keep track of profit and losses with them. However, some formulas are less well-known and take some expertise to master. SUMIF and COUNTIF are two of those functions. 

SUMIF uses specific parameters (set by the spreadsheet owner) to summarize cells that match certain conditions. If you need a summary of how much money a particular product makes, SUMIF can take every profit from a row with that product in it and add it together in one cell. 

COUNTIF is a similar function but works to count how many cells have a certain word or number in them. You can see how many people are working on a project, the number of products you’ve sold, or how much overlap between two items. Both of these functions are crucial to data organization. 

Conditional Formatting

Excel spreadsheets often seem tedious, but they can be as colorful as you like. Conditional formatting not only adds a splash of color to the sheet but helps to sort cells by condition. An expert should be able to set up conditional formatting so that the spreadsheet sorts itself by color automatically. 

It’s not difficult to set up conditional formatting. What makes this an expert move is knowing how to use it well. If you have several employees on the same spreadsheet, you can use conditional formatting to assign them each a color. Wherever their names appear, the cells will be that color. 

Conditional formatting has unlimited uses and gets overlooked by many spreadsheet users. However, an expert will know how to set it up and use it to maximum effect on a practice Excel document. 

VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP

Data spreadsheets can have thousands of data lines, and it’s impossible to find everything you need just by scrolling or using the search bar. The two main searching tools, V and X lookup, help with that by providing search parameters and involving more than a simple search engine. 

VLOOKUP is short for vertical lookup. It narrows the search to one column and helps you find data within that column. You can find the sum of a certain product, look for names of employees, or sort based on what you find. HLOOKUP is another command which does the same thing for rows. 

XLOOKUP is much more versatile but more challenging to use. It can look up the exact match, closest match, or approximate match to your searches. You can use XLOOKUP for vertical or horizontal searches. However, it takes some extra knowledge of Excel and how to use the function. 

Filters

Knowing how to search is more than just using V or X lookup functions. Filters can help you find everything within a certain category on your spreadsheet. An expert should be able to use filters easily. There are intermediate Excel skills that are easy for almost anyone to learn. 

The big difference between filtering and sorting is that filtering doesn’t rearrange the cells on a spreadsheet. When you sort a spreadsheet by size, date, or alphabetically, the rest of the cells will move to stay in line with their assigned rows. However, this can tangle the columns and undo some critical work. 

Filters, however, help you see everything you need to within specific parameters. With a simple formula, you will be able to look at all the data from a specific city and time frame or whichever filters you need. An expert will be able to use multiple filters easily to help you find whatever subset of data you are looking for. 

Macros

One of the biggest indicators of an Excel pro is whether they can make the spreadsheet work for them. Formulas and formatting all do this, but the most consistent way to check on a candidate’s expertise is to have them set up a macro command. 

Macro commands are complicated formulas that, once set up, can run at the click of a button. An Excel expert can set up macro commands on your spreadsheet, making it easier for you to do the most complicated things. 

Macro is also where Visual Basics for Applications programming comes in. Using VBA, an expert can set up visuals within a spreadsheet, including charts and graphs. VBA macros are essential to running spreadsheets efficiently. If a potential employee can’t run VBA macros, they are likely not an Excel expert. 

INDEX MATCH

Using INDEX MATCH requires basic knowledge of the INDEX and MATCH functions in Excel. Without this knowledge, you won’t be able to use both of them to create flexible functions and formulas. However, an expert with knowledge of INDEX and MATCH can find and create new lists at a moment’s notice. 

INDEX uses the cell location to give you the value of the cell. Once the user puts in a cell number, INDEX will tell you what is inside that cell. MATCH finds the cell number for a specific value. Both of these functions are useful, but they create a two-way search engine when put together. 

With INDEX MATCH, a user can create a sales table for a specific person or product. It also can sort the results. By using INDEX to look up a price and MATCH to find all matching cells, it’s easy to use the power of both of these functions to create a better search engine than VLOOKUP or even XLOOKUP. 

Power Pivots

A power pivot might be the most difficult to learn of all the skills on this list. Any candidate who shows expertise with a power pivot is an excellent choice for your company because they have stacked the knowledge of Excel with other databases and can work between the two. 

Power pivots help if you have way more data than excel can hold but still want the accessibility that the service offers. They essentially turn your Excel sheet into a pivot table, accessing an external data source and refreshing on command. Knowing Power Pivots assumes an in-depth understanding of regular pivot tables. 

If you aren’t looking for a tool for advanced excel skills for data analysis, you might need an expert who knows how to use power pivots. However, those who have millions more data than can fit in an Excel sheet will benefit from the ability to sort enormous amounts of data with the ease of Excel. 

Charts

Spreadsheets often contain lots of information. While a data analyst or Excel expert can read this and interpret it, it’s difficult for other company members to understand without explanation. Excel offers multiple kinds of charts to help visualize the data in a spreadsheet. 

Charts are pretty easy to find and use in Excel, but it takes a higher knowledge to be able to use them effectively to visualize the correct types of data. You don’t always want a chart of the entire spreadsheet, and an Excel analyst can make charts of specific subsections of data, filtering out the unnecessary bits. 

There are over twenty types of charts available on Excel, with the most commonly used being the pie chart, graph chart, bar chart, and line chart. Each of these serves a purpose, but it’s up to an expert to know which data to insert. 

IFERROR

Of course, things don’t always go right when making Excel formulas, and the smallest mistake can set off a chain of error codes throughout the document. Even an expert causes errors because the computer isn’t set up for any irregularities. 

It’s safe to assume that someone claiming to be an Excel expert knows about formulas and possible error codes. These are the very basics of learning how to use Excel, and almost everyone has used basic formulas on a spreadsheet. However, there is a workaround to the dreaded error code: IFERROR. 

By couching any complicated formulas in IFERROR, an Excel expert can successfully avoid the annoying and sometimes debilitating error messages when something goes wrong. A chain reaction of missed formulas can wreak havoc on a spreadsheet, but IFERROR can stop it in its tracks and allow the user to fix the mistake. 

How to Assess your Spreadsheet Pro and Facilitate an Excel Test? 

There are several ways to set up a test for incoming applicants and allow them to demonstrate their Excel skills. However, it’s difficult to tell how well they did if you don’t know how to do these functions. The best way to assess an Excel advanced user is to use a test made by Excel experts. 

If you’re not sure how to test for these general skills, use our online test. It tests for basic Excel literacy and the Microsoft Excel advanced skills on this list. Without a good baseline, it’s impossible to tell how experienced your applicants truly are, but this test can help. 

Once you’ve given any potential candidates the test, you can allow the results to speak for themselves. An online test will narrow down the candidates and provide you with only the best of the best, whom you can personally test using the exact checklists below. 

For specific candidates, use a skills checklist and let them show you their skills. You can use short answer questions, multiple-choice, or a practical exam. Whether you give them an untamed example spreadsheet and have them fix it or make them perform the functions in front of you is your choice. 

A Checklist for Your Microsoft Excel Skills Assessment Tests 

Hiring an Excel expert isn’t just about picking the person who knows the most about Excel. You need to choose someone who has the skill set for the open position. Different Excel skills will match different companies’ needs. For some jobs, you might not need specific skills. 

Several jobs need expert knowledge of Excel spreadsheets, and most data-heavy jobs require all of the skills listed above. However, some professions require more specific Excel skill sets. If you’re hiring an accountant, an analyst, a manager, or a data worker, they probably need some extra skills. 

If you are hiring an Excel spreadsheet master to help every role in your company, then you want them to know as many of these as possible. However, here are the advanced Excel skills checklists for individual roles that need knowledge of Excel. 

Accountants: Excel Skills Checklist

Accountants work with numbers all day and spend much of their time on Excel spreadsheets. If your potential employee has passed a regular Excel test with flying colors, make sure they also know how to do these skills: 

  • Macros
  • Pivot tables 
  • Filters 
  • Formatting 
  • Lookup functions 
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Sparklines 
  • IFERROR
  • Charts and tables
  • Cell Referencing
  • Data Validation
  • Basic Keyboard shortcuts

Project Managers: Excel Skills Checklist

Project managers have a lot to oversee. In addition to being in charge of groups of people working on the same project, they need to know the skills necessary to fix issues with spreadsheets and change parameters if needed. 

Not all project managers need all of the items on this list, depending on what type of projects they will be running. However, it’s helpful to know that your manager can handle any issues that come up with Excel during the project. Here is the checklist for project managers: 

  • Pivot Tables
  • Filters
  • Formatting
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Macros and VBA
  • Conditional formatting
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Charts and tables
  • INDEX MATCH and LOOKUP functions
  • Visuals and Timeline creation
  • Communication and Chat functions
  • IFERROR

Sales and Marketing Managers: Excel Skills Checklist

Sales and marketing need to see and analyze data daily. These sections of a company go hand in hand and are often under the same department manager. To increase sales and up marketing, knowing an accurate reading of data is crucial. Here is a list of skills needed for sales and marketing managers: 

  • Charts and graphs
  • IFERROR
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Use SUM PRODUCT
  • Conditional formatting
  • Filters 
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH 
  • Macros 
  • Communication and chat functions
  • Pivot tables 
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Absolute reference
  • FLASH FILL
  • Slicers 

Data Analysts and Data Journalists: Excel Skills Checklist

The people who use data and data-driven software the most are data scientists. Hiring data analysts assumes they have a working knowledge of Excel and other data programs. However, you should make sure that they’re an expert by checking for these skills: 

  • Pivot tables
  • Power pivot
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Filters and shortcuts
  • FLASH FILL
  • Macros and VBA
  • Charts and graphs 
  • Absolute reference 
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH 
  • Charts and advanced charts 
  • Data interpretation
  • IFERROR

Financial Analysts and Business Analysts: Excel Skills Checklist

Finances are the backbone of any company. Without solid financial assistance, a company will crash and burn quickly. Your financial and business analysts need to be able to see the sales, marketing, production, and spending data and make sense of it. For this, they need the following Excel skills: 

  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Filters and shortcuts
  • Charts and graphs
  • IFERROR
  • Communication and chat functions
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH
  • Data interpretation
  • Macros 
  • Pivot tables
  • Data retrieval and formatting

Final Thoughts

With these Excel skills and checklists, you should be ready to start hiring experts to help create and analyze your company’s data. You’ll be able to focus on your job because you won’t need to be supervising the Excel sheets or struggling to find the information you need. Once you have an Excel expert on board, all that information is available in a moment. 

Share this article
LinkedinTwitterFacebook

Advanced Excel Skills: A Checklist to Hire Your Excel Expert

An Excel expert knows how to use Excel to its maximum benefit, making it even easier for everyone else in the company to see the data at a moment’s notice. Hiring an Excel expert to streamline your spreadsheets can increase your productivity and workflow. 

Advanced Excel Skills: A Checklist to Hire Your Excel Expert

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that anyone can use. It aims to make it easy to manage lists, numbers, and large amounts of data without overwhelming users. While it’s easy to input and export data, thousands of extra functions are available on the software. 

An Excel expert knows how to use Excel to its maximum benefit, making it even easier for everyone else in the company to see the data at a moment’s notice. Hiring an Excel expert to streamline your spreadsheets can increase your productivity and workflow. 

What Are Advanced Excel Skills?

Of course, before you start testing for these skills, it’s essential to know how to describe Excel skills. You don’t need to know how to do them (that’s what the expert is for), but you must know what you’re looking for in an expert. 

What are Considered Advanced Excel Skills? 

Advanced Excel users know how to manipulate the sheet to make data easier to read for everyone. Advanced Excel skills go beyond the basic functionality of entering data and using formulas in a spreadsheet. These skills are taught in a computer literacy course and can be learned in a few minutes online. 

Excel Skills Job Description

While basic and intermediate Excel users can use formulas and work with the data, advanced users can analyze data, make the spreadsheet work for them, and use Visual Basics for Applications (VBA) Programming. 

These skills aren’t learned in a five-minute YouTube video - an advanced user will have learned about Excel from the ground up, spending hours with spreadsheets. If the applicant tests well in these advanced excel features, they will likely prove an excellent data sheet expert. 

10 Advanced Excel Skills to Test For

Microsoft Excel offers hundreds of functions, tables, and ways to sort data. It’s nearly impossible to learn them all without years of practice. However, there are a few advanced Excel techniques that anyone claiming to be proficient should know. Here are the top 10 advanced skills to test. 

Many of these skills don’t seem like much, but when they are combined, they make a masterful Excel spreadsheet look easy. If you’re looking to hire someone to help you untangle your data, look for these ten advanced skills in Excel. 

Pivot Tables

Excel sheets can hold a lot of information, and it’s not always easy to parse. While searching and sorting are extremely basic skills, there are more complicated ways to keep data organized. One of these is by using pivot tables. 

Pivot tables will do whatever you program them to do. You can store subsets of data, sort them into smaller tables, or average a set of data into a subset. Whatever you choose to do with a pivot table will only increase the functionality and usability of the spreadsheet; overall, clearing away clutter and allowing you to see the most valuable data. 

Knowing pivot tables is an essential skill for mastering Excel. No matter what industry you are in, pivot tables can help sort the necessary data. If a candidate hasn’t mastered creating and editing a pivot table, they probably haven’t spent enough time in Excel to be an expert. 

SUMIF and COUNTIF

Functions and formulas are a crucial part of excel spreadsheets. You can add the sums of columns and rows and specific cells and keep track of profit and losses with them. However, some formulas are less well-known and take some expertise to master. SUMIF and COUNTIF are two of those functions. 

SUMIF uses specific parameters (set by the spreadsheet owner) to summarize cells that match certain conditions. If you need a summary of how much money a particular product makes, SUMIF can take every profit from a row with that product in it and add it together in one cell. 

COUNTIF is a similar function but works to count how many cells have a certain word or number in them. You can see how many people are working on a project, the number of products you’ve sold, or how much overlap between two items. Both of these functions are crucial to data organization. 

Conditional Formatting

Excel spreadsheets often seem tedious, but they can be as colorful as you like. Conditional formatting not only adds a splash of color to the sheet but helps to sort cells by condition. An expert should be able to set up conditional formatting so that the spreadsheet sorts itself by color automatically. 

It’s not difficult to set up conditional formatting. What makes this an expert move is knowing how to use it well. If you have several employees on the same spreadsheet, you can use conditional formatting to assign them each a color. Wherever their names appear, the cells will be that color. 

Conditional formatting has unlimited uses and gets overlooked by many spreadsheet users. However, an expert will know how to set it up and use it to maximum effect on a practice Excel document. 

VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP

Data spreadsheets can have thousands of data lines, and it’s impossible to find everything you need just by scrolling or using the search bar. The two main searching tools, V and X lookup, help with that by providing search parameters and involving more than a simple search engine. 

VLOOKUP is short for vertical lookup. It narrows the search to one column and helps you find data within that column. You can find the sum of a certain product, look for names of employees, or sort based on what you find. HLOOKUP is another command which does the same thing for rows. 

XLOOKUP is much more versatile but more challenging to use. It can look up the exact match, closest match, or approximate match to your searches. You can use XLOOKUP for vertical or horizontal searches. However, it takes some extra knowledge of Excel and how to use the function. 

Filters

Knowing how to search is more than just using V or X lookup functions. Filters can help you find everything within a certain category on your spreadsheet. An expert should be able to use filters easily. There are intermediate Excel skills that are easy for almost anyone to learn. 

The big difference between filtering and sorting is that filtering doesn’t rearrange the cells on a spreadsheet. When you sort a spreadsheet by size, date, or alphabetically, the rest of the cells will move to stay in line with their assigned rows. However, this can tangle the columns and undo some critical work. 

Filters, however, help you see everything you need to within specific parameters. With a simple formula, you will be able to look at all the data from a specific city and time frame or whichever filters you need. An expert will be able to use multiple filters easily to help you find whatever subset of data you are looking for. 

Macros

One of the biggest indicators of an Excel pro is whether they can make the spreadsheet work for them. Formulas and formatting all do this, but the most consistent way to check on a candidate’s expertise is to have them set up a macro command. 

Macro commands are complicated formulas that, once set up, can run at the click of a button. An Excel expert can set up macro commands on your spreadsheet, making it easier for you to do the most complicated things. 

Macro is also where Visual Basics for Applications programming comes in. Using VBA, an expert can set up visuals within a spreadsheet, including charts and graphs. VBA macros are essential to running spreadsheets efficiently. If a potential employee can’t run VBA macros, they are likely not an Excel expert. 

INDEX MATCH

Using INDEX MATCH requires basic knowledge of the INDEX and MATCH functions in Excel. Without this knowledge, you won’t be able to use both of them to create flexible functions and formulas. However, an expert with knowledge of INDEX and MATCH can find and create new lists at a moment’s notice. 

INDEX uses the cell location to give you the value of the cell. Once the user puts in a cell number, INDEX will tell you what is inside that cell. MATCH finds the cell number for a specific value. Both of these functions are useful, but they create a two-way search engine when put together. 

With INDEX MATCH, a user can create a sales table for a specific person or product. It also can sort the results. By using INDEX to look up a price and MATCH to find all matching cells, it’s easy to use the power of both of these functions to create a better search engine than VLOOKUP or even XLOOKUP. 

Power Pivots

A power pivot might be the most difficult to learn of all the skills on this list. Any candidate who shows expertise with a power pivot is an excellent choice for your company because they have stacked the knowledge of Excel with other databases and can work between the two. 

Power pivots help if you have way more data than excel can hold but still want the accessibility that the service offers. They essentially turn your Excel sheet into a pivot table, accessing an external data source and refreshing on command. Knowing Power Pivots assumes an in-depth understanding of regular pivot tables. 

If you aren’t looking for a tool for advanced excel skills for data analysis, you might need an expert who knows how to use power pivots. However, those who have millions more data than can fit in an Excel sheet will benefit from the ability to sort enormous amounts of data with the ease of Excel. 

Charts

Spreadsheets often contain lots of information. While a data analyst or Excel expert can read this and interpret it, it’s difficult for other company members to understand without explanation. Excel offers multiple kinds of charts to help visualize the data in a spreadsheet. 

Charts are pretty easy to find and use in Excel, but it takes a higher knowledge to be able to use them effectively to visualize the correct types of data. You don’t always want a chart of the entire spreadsheet, and an Excel analyst can make charts of specific subsections of data, filtering out the unnecessary bits. 

There are over twenty types of charts available on Excel, with the most commonly used being the pie chart, graph chart, bar chart, and line chart. Each of these serves a purpose, but it’s up to an expert to know which data to insert. 

IFERROR

Of course, things don’t always go right when making Excel formulas, and the smallest mistake can set off a chain of error codes throughout the document. Even an expert causes errors because the computer isn’t set up for any irregularities. 

It’s safe to assume that someone claiming to be an Excel expert knows about formulas and possible error codes. These are the very basics of learning how to use Excel, and almost everyone has used basic formulas on a spreadsheet. However, there is a workaround to the dreaded error code: IFERROR. 

By couching any complicated formulas in IFERROR, an Excel expert can successfully avoid the annoying and sometimes debilitating error messages when something goes wrong. A chain reaction of missed formulas can wreak havoc on a spreadsheet, but IFERROR can stop it in its tracks and allow the user to fix the mistake. 

How to Assess your Spreadsheet Pro and Facilitate an Excel Test? 

There are several ways to set up a test for incoming applicants and allow them to demonstrate their Excel skills. However, it’s difficult to tell how well they did if you don’t know how to do these functions. The best way to assess an Excel advanced user is to use a test made by Excel experts. 

If you’re not sure how to test for these general skills, use our online test. It tests for basic Excel literacy and the Microsoft Excel advanced skills on this list. Without a good baseline, it’s impossible to tell how experienced your applicants truly are, but this test can help. 

Once you’ve given any potential candidates the test, you can allow the results to speak for themselves. An online test will narrow down the candidates and provide you with only the best of the best, whom you can personally test using the exact checklists below. 

For specific candidates, use a skills checklist and let them show you their skills. You can use short answer questions, multiple-choice, or a practical exam. Whether you give them an untamed example spreadsheet and have them fix it or make them perform the functions in front of you is your choice. 

A Checklist for Your Microsoft Excel Skills Assessment Tests 

Hiring an Excel expert isn’t just about picking the person who knows the most about Excel. You need to choose someone who has the skill set for the open position. Different Excel skills will match different companies’ needs. For some jobs, you might not need specific skills. 

Several jobs need expert knowledge of Excel spreadsheets, and most data-heavy jobs require all of the skills listed above. However, some professions require more specific Excel skill sets. If you’re hiring an accountant, an analyst, a manager, or a data worker, they probably need some extra skills. 

If you are hiring an Excel spreadsheet master to help every role in your company, then you want them to know as many of these as possible. However, here are the advanced Excel skills checklists for individual roles that need knowledge of Excel. 

Accountants: Excel Skills Checklist

Accountants work with numbers all day and spend much of their time on Excel spreadsheets. If your potential employee has passed a regular Excel test with flying colors, make sure they also know how to do these skills: 

  • Macros
  • Pivot tables 
  • Filters 
  • Formatting 
  • Lookup functions 
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Sparklines 
  • IFERROR
  • Charts and tables
  • Cell Referencing
  • Data Validation
  • Basic Keyboard shortcuts

Project Managers: Excel Skills Checklist

Project managers have a lot to oversee. In addition to being in charge of groups of people working on the same project, they need to know the skills necessary to fix issues with spreadsheets and change parameters if needed. 

Not all project managers need all of the items on this list, depending on what type of projects they will be running. However, it’s helpful to know that your manager can handle any issues that come up with Excel during the project. Here is the checklist for project managers: 

  • Pivot Tables
  • Filters
  • Formatting
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Macros and VBA
  • Conditional formatting
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Charts and tables
  • INDEX MATCH and LOOKUP functions
  • Visuals and Timeline creation
  • Communication and Chat functions
  • IFERROR

Sales and Marketing Managers: Excel Skills Checklist

Sales and marketing need to see and analyze data daily. These sections of a company go hand in hand and are often under the same department manager. To increase sales and up marketing, knowing an accurate reading of data is crucial. Here is a list of skills needed for sales and marketing managers: 

  • Charts and graphs
  • IFERROR
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Use SUM PRODUCT
  • Conditional formatting
  • Filters 
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH 
  • Macros 
  • Communication and chat functions
  • Pivot tables 
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Absolute reference
  • FLASH FILL
  • Slicers 

Data Analysts and Data Journalists: Excel Skills Checklist

The people who use data and data-driven software the most are data scientists. Hiring data analysts assumes they have a working knowledge of Excel and other data programs. However, you should make sure that they’re an expert by checking for these skills: 

  • Pivot tables
  • Power pivot
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Filters and shortcuts
  • FLASH FILL
  • Macros and VBA
  • Charts and graphs 
  • Absolute reference 
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH 
  • Charts and advanced charts 
  • Data interpretation
  • IFERROR

Financial Analysts and Business Analysts: Excel Skills Checklist

Finances are the backbone of any company. Without solid financial assistance, a company will crash and burn quickly. Your financial and business analysts need to be able to see the sales, marketing, production, and spending data and make sense of it. For this, they need the following Excel skills: 

  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Filters and shortcuts
  • Charts and graphs
  • IFERROR
  • Communication and chat functions
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH
  • Data interpretation
  • Macros 
  • Pivot tables
  • Data retrieval and formatting

Final Thoughts

With these Excel skills and checklists, you should be ready to start hiring experts to help create and analyze your company’s data. You’ll be able to focus on your job because you won’t need to be supervising the Excel sheets or struggling to find the information you need. Once you have an Excel expert on board, all that information is available in a moment. 

Download our guide
*Required fields
Maki uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You can unsubscribe from communications from Maki at any time. For more information, check out Maki’s Privacy Policy.
Marion Bernes

Marion Bernes
Copywriter

Changelog

Summary

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that anyone can use. It aims to make it easy to manage lists, numbers, and large amounts of data without overwhelming users. While it’s easy to input and export data, thousands of extra functions are available on the software. 

An Excel expert knows how to use Excel to its maximum benefit, making it even easier for everyone else in the company to see the data at a moment’s notice. Hiring an Excel expert to streamline your spreadsheets can increase your productivity and workflow. 

What Are Advanced Excel Skills?

Of course, before you start testing for these skills, it’s essential to know how to describe Excel skills. You don’t need to know how to do them (that’s what the expert is for), but you must know what you’re looking for in an expert. 

What are Considered Advanced Excel Skills? 

Advanced Excel users know how to manipulate the sheet to make data easier to read for everyone. Advanced Excel skills go beyond the basic functionality of entering data and using formulas in a spreadsheet. These skills are taught in a computer literacy course and can be learned in a few minutes online. 

Excel Skills Job Description

While basic and intermediate Excel users can use formulas and work with the data, advanced users can analyze data, make the spreadsheet work for them, and use Visual Basics for Applications (VBA) Programming. 

These skills aren’t learned in a five-minute YouTube video - an advanced user will have learned about Excel from the ground up, spending hours with spreadsheets. If the applicant tests well in these advanced excel features, they will likely prove an excellent data sheet expert. 

10 Advanced Excel Skills to Test For

Microsoft Excel offers hundreds of functions, tables, and ways to sort data. It’s nearly impossible to learn them all without years of practice. However, there are a few advanced Excel techniques that anyone claiming to be proficient should know. Here are the top 10 advanced skills to test. 

Many of these skills don’t seem like much, but when they are combined, they make a masterful Excel spreadsheet look easy. If you’re looking to hire someone to help you untangle your data, look for these ten advanced skills in Excel. 

Pivot Tables

Excel sheets can hold a lot of information, and it’s not always easy to parse. While searching and sorting are extremely basic skills, there are more complicated ways to keep data organized. One of these is by using pivot tables. 

Pivot tables will do whatever you program them to do. You can store subsets of data, sort them into smaller tables, or average a set of data into a subset. Whatever you choose to do with a pivot table will only increase the functionality and usability of the spreadsheet; overall, clearing away clutter and allowing you to see the most valuable data. 

Knowing pivot tables is an essential skill for mastering Excel. No matter what industry you are in, pivot tables can help sort the necessary data. If a candidate hasn’t mastered creating and editing a pivot table, they probably haven’t spent enough time in Excel to be an expert. 

SUMIF and COUNTIF

Functions and formulas are a crucial part of excel spreadsheets. You can add the sums of columns and rows and specific cells and keep track of profit and losses with them. However, some formulas are less well-known and take some expertise to master. SUMIF and COUNTIF are two of those functions. 

SUMIF uses specific parameters (set by the spreadsheet owner) to summarize cells that match certain conditions. If you need a summary of how much money a particular product makes, SUMIF can take every profit from a row with that product in it and add it together in one cell. 

COUNTIF is a similar function but works to count how many cells have a certain word or number in them. You can see how many people are working on a project, the number of products you’ve sold, or how much overlap between two items. Both of these functions are crucial to data organization. 

Conditional Formatting

Excel spreadsheets often seem tedious, but they can be as colorful as you like. Conditional formatting not only adds a splash of color to the sheet but helps to sort cells by condition. An expert should be able to set up conditional formatting so that the spreadsheet sorts itself by color automatically. 

It’s not difficult to set up conditional formatting. What makes this an expert move is knowing how to use it well. If you have several employees on the same spreadsheet, you can use conditional formatting to assign them each a color. Wherever their names appear, the cells will be that color. 

Conditional formatting has unlimited uses and gets overlooked by many spreadsheet users. However, an expert will know how to set it up and use it to maximum effect on a practice Excel document. 

VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP

Data spreadsheets can have thousands of data lines, and it’s impossible to find everything you need just by scrolling or using the search bar. The two main searching tools, V and X lookup, help with that by providing search parameters and involving more than a simple search engine. 

VLOOKUP is short for vertical lookup. It narrows the search to one column and helps you find data within that column. You can find the sum of a certain product, look for names of employees, or sort based on what you find. HLOOKUP is another command which does the same thing for rows. 

XLOOKUP is much more versatile but more challenging to use. It can look up the exact match, closest match, or approximate match to your searches. You can use XLOOKUP for vertical or horizontal searches. However, it takes some extra knowledge of Excel and how to use the function. 

Filters

Knowing how to search is more than just using V or X lookup functions. Filters can help you find everything within a certain category on your spreadsheet. An expert should be able to use filters easily. There are intermediate Excel skills that are easy for almost anyone to learn. 

The big difference between filtering and sorting is that filtering doesn’t rearrange the cells on a spreadsheet. When you sort a spreadsheet by size, date, or alphabetically, the rest of the cells will move to stay in line with their assigned rows. However, this can tangle the columns and undo some critical work. 

Filters, however, help you see everything you need to within specific parameters. With a simple formula, you will be able to look at all the data from a specific city and time frame or whichever filters you need. An expert will be able to use multiple filters easily to help you find whatever subset of data you are looking for. 

Macros

One of the biggest indicators of an Excel pro is whether they can make the spreadsheet work for them. Formulas and formatting all do this, but the most consistent way to check on a candidate’s expertise is to have them set up a macro command. 

Macro commands are complicated formulas that, once set up, can run at the click of a button. An Excel expert can set up macro commands on your spreadsheet, making it easier for you to do the most complicated things. 

Macro is also where Visual Basics for Applications programming comes in. Using VBA, an expert can set up visuals within a spreadsheet, including charts and graphs. VBA macros are essential to running spreadsheets efficiently. If a potential employee can’t run VBA macros, they are likely not an Excel expert. 

INDEX MATCH

Using INDEX MATCH requires basic knowledge of the INDEX and MATCH functions in Excel. Without this knowledge, you won’t be able to use both of them to create flexible functions and formulas. However, an expert with knowledge of INDEX and MATCH can find and create new lists at a moment’s notice. 

INDEX uses the cell location to give you the value of the cell. Once the user puts in a cell number, INDEX will tell you what is inside that cell. MATCH finds the cell number for a specific value. Both of these functions are useful, but they create a two-way search engine when put together. 

With INDEX MATCH, a user can create a sales table for a specific person or product. It also can sort the results. By using INDEX to look up a price and MATCH to find all matching cells, it’s easy to use the power of both of these functions to create a better search engine than VLOOKUP or even XLOOKUP. 

Power Pivots

A power pivot might be the most difficult to learn of all the skills on this list. Any candidate who shows expertise with a power pivot is an excellent choice for your company because they have stacked the knowledge of Excel with other databases and can work between the two. 

Power pivots help if you have way more data than excel can hold but still want the accessibility that the service offers. They essentially turn your Excel sheet into a pivot table, accessing an external data source and refreshing on command. Knowing Power Pivots assumes an in-depth understanding of regular pivot tables. 

If you aren’t looking for a tool for advanced excel skills for data analysis, you might need an expert who knows how to use power pivots. However, those who have millions more data than can fit in an Excel sheet will benefit from the ability to sort enormous amounts of data with the ease of Excel. 

Charts

Spreadsheets often contain lots of information. While a data analyst or Excel expert can read this and interpret it, it’s difficult for other company members to understand without explanation. Excel offers multiple kinds of charts to help visualize the data in a spreadsheet. 

Charts are pretty easy to find and use in Excel, but it takes a higher knowledge to be able to use them effectively to visualize the correct types of data. You don’t always want a chart of the entire spreadsheet, and an Excel analyst can make charts of specific subsections of data, filtering out the unnecessary bits. 

There are over twenty types of charts available on Excel, with the most commonly used being the pie chart, graph chart, bar chart, and line chart. Each of these serves a purpose, but it’s up to an expert to know which data to insert. 

IFERROR

Of course, things don’t always go right when making Excel formulas, and the smallest mistake can set off a chain of error codes throughout the document. Even an expert causes errors because the computer isn’t set up for any irregularities. 

It’s safe to assume that someone claiming to be an Excel expert knows about formulas and possible error codes. These are the very basics of learning how to use Excel, and almost everyone has used basic formulas on a spreadsheet. However, there is a workaround to the dreaded error code: IFERROR. 

By couching any complicated formulas in IFERROR, an Excel expert can successfully avoid the annoying and sometimes debilitating error messages when something goes wrong. A chain reaction of missed formulas can wreak havoc on a spreadsheet, but IFERROR can stop it in its tracks and allow the user to fix the mistake. 

How to Assess your Spreadsheet Pro and Facilitate an Excel Test? 

There are several ways to set up a test for incoming applicants and allow them to demonstrate their Excel skills. However, it’s difficult to tell how well they did if you don’t know how to do these functions. The best way to assess an Excel advanced user is to use a test made by Excel experts. 

If you’re not sure how to test for these general skills, use our online test. It tests for basic Excel literacy and the Microsoft Excel advanced skills on this list. Without a good baseline, it’s impossible to tell how experienced your applicants truly are, but this test can help. 

Once you’ve given any potential candidates the test, you can allow the results to speak for themselves. An online test will narrow down the candidates and provide you with only the best of the best, whom you can personally test using the exact checklists below. 

For specific candidates, use a skills checklist and let them show you their skills. You can use short answer questions, multiple-choice, or a practical exam. Whether you give them an untamed example spreadsheet and have them fix it or make them perform the functions in front of you is your choice. 

A Checklist for Your Microsoft Excel Skills Assessment Tests 

Hiring an Excel expert isn’t just about picking the person who knows the most about Excel. You need to choose someone who has the skill set for the open position. Different Excel skills will match different companies’ needs. For some jobs, you might not need specific skills. 

Several jobs need expert knowledge of Excel spreadsheets, and most data-heavy jobs require all of the skills listed above. However, some professions require more specific Excel skill sets. If you’re hiring an accountant, an analyst, a manager, or a data worker, they probably need some extra skills. 

If you are hiring an Excel spreadsheet master to help every role in your company, then you want them to know as many of these as possible. However, here are the advanced Excel skills checklists for individual roles that need knowledge of Excel. 

Accountants: Excel Skills Checklist

Accountants work with numbers all day and spend much of their time on Excel spreadsheets. If your potential employee has passed a regular Excel test with flying colors, make sure they also know how to do these skills: 

  • Macros
  • Pivot tables 
  • Filters 
  • Formatting 
  • Lookup functions 
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Sparklines 
  • IFERROR
  • Charts and tables
  • Cell Referencing
  • Data Validation
  • Basic Keyboard shortcuts

Project Managers: Excel Skills Checklist

Project managers have a lot to oversee. In addition to being in charge of groups of people working on the same project, they need to know the skills necessary to fix issues with spreadsheets and change parameters if needed. 

Not all project managers need all of the items on this list, depending on what type of projects they will be running. However, it’s helpful to know that your manager can handle any issues that come up with Excel during the project. Here is the checklist for project managers: 

  • Pivot Tables
  • Filters
  • Formatting
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Macros and VBA
  • Conditional formatting
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Charts and tables
  • INDEX MATCH and LOOKUP functions
  • Visuals and Timeline creation
  • Communication and Chat functions
  • IFERROR

Sales and Marketing Managers: Excel Skills Checklist

Sales and marketing need to see and analyze data daily. These sections of a company go hand in hand and are often under the same department manager. To increase sales and up marketing, knowing an accurate reading of data is crucial. Here is a list of skills needed for sales and marketing managers: 

  • Charts and graphs
  • IFERROR
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Use SUM PRODUCT
  • Conditional formatting
  • Filters 
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH 
  • Macros 
  • Communication and chat functions
  • Pivot tables 
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Absolute reference
  • FLASH FILL
  • Slicers 

Data Analysts and Data Journalists: Excel Skills Checklist

The people who use data and data-driven software the most are data scientists. Hiring data analysts assumes they have a working knowledge of Excel and other data programs. However, you should make sure that they’re an expert by checking for these skills: 

  • Pivot tables
  • Power pivot
  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Filters and shortcuts
  • FLASH FILL
  • Macros and VBA
  • Charts and graphs 
  • Absolute reference 
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH 
  • Charts and advanced charts 
  • Data interpretation
  • IFERROR

Financial Analysts and Business Analysts: Excel Skills Checklist

Finances are the backbone of any company. Without solid financial assistance, a company will crash and burn quickly. Your financial and business analysts need to be able to see the sales, marketing, production, and spending data and make sense of it. For this, they need the following Excel skills: 

  • SUMIF and COUNTIF
  • Filters and shortcuts
  • Charts and graphs
  • IFERROR
  • Communication and chat functions
  • LOOKUP and INDEX MATCH
  • Data interpretation
  • Macros 
  • Pivot tables
  • Data retrieval and formatting

Final Thoughts

With these Excel skills and checklists, you should be ready to start hiring experts to help create and analyze your company’s data. You’ll be able to focus on your job because you won’t need to be supervising the Excel sheets or struggling to find the information you need. Once you have an Excel expert on board, all that information is available in a moment. 

No items found.
There are no corresponding tests. Try other filters!
The future of hiring. Simple. Efficient. Fair.
No credit card required. 
15-day free trial.