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There are many different uses for spreadsheets; the main use for spreadsheets is using basic formulas to work out various sums. They can also used to represent data graphically using graphs and charts. In this document I plan to explore the various uses for spreadsheets in different areas and focus on one specific area and look at the uses for a spreadsheet in that area and also I will look at some of the limitations that using spreadsheets can bring.
One of the main uses for spreadsheets is in finance, businesses can use a spreadsheet to forecast sales, and show graphically how sales will rise or drop based on past events. Spreadsheets can also be used to work out interest rates and monthly payments based on variables such as time, i.e. 5 years, 10 years or amount borrowed and also both such as £100,000 borrowed over 30 years.
Another use for spreadsheets is in education, spreadsheets can be used to store students personal data along with grades and scores, this data can then be used to predict a student's overall or average grade, this can also be used to forecast how they will do at higher levels. A spreadsheet can also be used to gather all pupils' scores and represent the data in a chart displaying the pass percentages for the school. A spreadsheet can also be used to record pay records for staff of the school and when they get paid and how much they get paid.
Other uses for spreadsheets are in Health Care; health organisations such as the NHS can use spreadsheets to record patient's details for easy access by doctors and other staff. They can also be used to show the date they were admitted and the date they were signed out by a doctor. And the doctor that is treating them. This can also be useful to see what dates are busiest and other trends. And plan accordingly for the future.
Spreadsheets can be used by shop keepers to keep detailed lists of their stock, how much the item costs and the bar code number of the item, the shop keeper can also record sales of each item in his/her stock and then use graphs to see what items are selling well, and also what items are not selling so that the shop keeper can then change stock accordingly. As spreadsheet can also be used for a shop owner to do their VAT and Tax returns at the end of each quarter of the year.
Spreadsheets can be used in sports to record the team statistics, and then work out goal per game percentages, and also it can be used to keep a game roster, games played and also draw up graphs and charts that show team performance, it can also be used to get a players averages such as average goals per game, injuries per season and other vital statistics. Also making them alot easier to be read and interpreted by the user.
The application area I have chosen to look into is Shop keeping:
In shop keeping spreadsheet applications can be very useful in shop keeping as it can help a shop owner keep a detailed inventory of all the items in the shop keeping information such as availability and barcode number easily accessible.
Shop keepers can also use spreadsheets to record sales of all of their stock. They can view what items are selling well, what are not selling at all and what items are sold out. This data can be used to make graphs, charts and tables this can be used by the shop keeper to decide what he needs to get more off, or what stock he needs to order less of, or stop ordering. This can also be useful for the shopkeeper to use when deciding what offers to put on certain items.
Shop keepers can also use spreadsheets to calculate their finances; they can calculate daily profit or loss and also predict using past sales what should happen for the next few weeks months or years. They can also calculate their monthly, quarterly or yearly profits or losses and they can do their VAT and Tax returns for the financial years. Making it easier, quicker and more convenient with fewer mistakes.
Another use for spreadsheets by shop keepers is keeping staff details stored for quick and easy hours, this also is a good way for managers or owners to see their wage expenses and also keep track on who is working what hours and also staff holiday bookings, this makes it easier than using a conventional book and allows comparison of data faster.
Spreadsheets can also be used by shop keepers by using them to work out break even points if the shop keeper wanted to obtain loans from banks or investors for expansion or other reasons.
One Spreadsheet use that would be useful for shop keepers is the tables, they can clearly block out their inventories and using the "SORT" tool they can sort the data in any way they want, from A - Z to number values. They can also group data types together making it a clear more organised list than just typing it up in Microsoft word.
Another use for spreadsheets that would be useful in shop keeping is graphs and charts, graphs can be used to represent sales, profit and loss and other numerical data in one or more simple graphs that are easy to read. Charts can be easier to show data such as hours available Vs hours used. And stock sold Vs stock left over or returned.
Spreadsheets could also be useful by using formula to work out various sums such as adding, multiplying, subtracting or dividing various cells together which could be useful for shopkeepers to work out their profit or loss margins. They can also use other functions such as averages to save time by bypassing the need for a calculator.
One of the main limitations of spreadsheets is that some charts and graphs can be unclear if there is too much detail or if 3D graphs are used as the data lines and plotting can be unclear along. The axis also needs to be clearly labelled to avoid confusion.
Another downside to spreadsheets is it isn't great for word processing, anything more than a few words and any more than that Microsoft word should be used or for small paragraphs comments attached to the cell.
Another downside to spreadsheets is that beyond basic arithmetic the spreadsheet software gets more complex and may require more help from someone trained in it. As some of the functions are not easily explainable this could take time.
Another disadvantage is that creating tables and graphs can be complicated and getting them to look right can be time consuming.
In conclusion, spreadsheets can help turn huge amounts of data into simple and easily interpreted. They can also be used to sort and group large amounts of data in tables and make them easier to read and explain. They also allow people to work out the average of a set of data and cast predictions along with basic arithmetic. However they can be complicated to use and sometimes very unclear.