Excel Definition Overview

The ultimate software tool for financial analysis.

What is the definition of Excel?

Excel definition: a software program by Microsoft that uses spreadsheets to organize numbers and data with formulas and functions. Excel analysis is ubiquitous around the world and used by businesses of all sizes to perform financial analysis.

Check out our free Excel Crash Course here!


What is Excel used for?

Excel is typically used to organize data and perform analysis.  It’s used across all business functions and at companies from small to large.

The main uses of Excel include:

  • Data entry
  • Data management
  • Accounting
  • Financial analysis
  • Charting and graphing
  • Programming
  • Time management
  • Task management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Almost anything that needs to be organized!


Data functions, formulas, and shortcuts

The Excel software program includes many functions, formulas, and shortcuts that can be used to enhance its functionality.

We have defined the key functions and formulas below in our Excel guide:


Financial and accounting uses

Excel is used extensively in finance and accounting functions.  In fact, many organizations run their entire budgeting, forecasting, and accounting functions entirely out of Excel spreadsheets.

While Excel is defined as a “data” management tool, the data that is most commonly managed is financial.  At CFI, we would define Excel as the ultimate financial software. While there are other pieces of financial software that are certainly tailored towards specific tasks, the strongest point about Excel is its robustness and openness. Excel models are as powerful as the analyst wishes it to be.

Accountants, investment bankers, analysts, and people in all types of financial career paths rely on excel to perform their daily job functions.