What is VBA in Excel?
VBA is an abbreviation for Visual Basic for Application. VBA is a programming language that was developed by Microsoft Corp., and it is integrated into the major Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel, and Access.
The VBA programming language allows users to access functions beyond what is available in the MS Office applications. Users can also use VBA to customize applications to meet the specific needs of their business, such as creating user-defined functions, automating computer processes, and accessing Windows APIs.
How is VBA Used?
VBA is used to perform different functions, and different types of users use the programming language for various functions. The following are the different parties that use VBA:
1. General users
Most users regularly use MS Office applications such as Excel in their routine. VBA language is included in the MS Office package at no cost to the user. VBA is used to automate tasks and perform several other functions beyond creating and organizing spreadsheets.
For example, users require to automate some aspects of Excel, such as repetitive tasks, frequent tasks, generating reports, etc. The user can create a VBA program (macro) within Excel that generates, formats, and prints monthly sales reports with graphical representation such as bar charts. The user can execute the program with a single click, and Excel will automatically generate the reports with ease as per the needs of the company.
2. Computer professionals
Computer professionals can use VBAs to perform more complex tasks that would otherwise take longer time and more resources to complete. For example, they can use VBAs to create custom add-ins for Excel that provide additional functionality to the application by introducing new functions that are not available in Excel.
VBA also helps computer professionals perform complex functions, such as replicating large lines of code, designing languages within MS Office applications, and merging the functions of two or more different programs.
VBA is not only useful to individuals, but also to corporate users. Companies can use the VBA programming language to automate key business procedures and internal processes. Functions such as accounting procedures, tracking minutes, processing of sales orders in real time, calculating complex data, etc. can be implemented using VBA.
VBA can automate the abovementioned tasks to increase the efficiency of internal business processes. It also allows corporations to consolidate their data in the cloud to make it accessible from any location around the world.
Common Uses of VBA among Finance Professionals
The following are some of the ways in which finance professionals use VBA in their work:
1. Analyze huge amounts of data
Finance professionals, such as portfolio managers, financial analysts, traders, and investment bankers often need to deal with large volumes of data. They are required to review all the data and use the information to make critical buy or sell decisions. The professionals can use VBA to create macros that facilitate speedy analysis of the data.
Once the logic is defined and the important variables are specified, the finance professionals should feed the large volumes of data into the relevant cells and get results in a click of a button. Also, as long the correct data is added to the program, the data output will be more accurate compared to the output obtained manually since humans are bound to make mistakes.
2. Create and maintain complex models
Finance professionals can also use VBA to create trading, pricing, and risk management models. The models can be used to track the performance of stocks in the securities exchange market in real time, forecast the trend of each stock, and provide signals on when to buy or sell and the appropriate pricing at each stage.
The VBA program can also be used to generate financial ratios that allow analysts to evaluate the financial performance of publicly-traded companies, as well as compare the trends and performance of two or more entities over a defined period of time.
3. Create investment scenarios
Investment bankers and financial analysts often need to make decisions by comparing two or more investment scenarios. For example, in mergers and acquisitions, finance professionals must consider the financial impact of the merger to determine if it is feasible. The professionals can use VBA to create macros that simulate the investment scenarios to get an overview of the expected results/effects.
In such a way, it can eliminate human emotions that may interfere with the decision-making process, and instead rely on a simulated analysis that is close to reality. The decision-makers can make a decision based on the results obtained.
VBA Shortcuts in Excel
The following are some of the shortcuts that work when using VBA in MS Excel:
- Alt + F11: Open VBA Editor
- Alt + F8: Display all macros
- Alt + F4: Close VBA Editor and return to Excel
- F7: Open code editor
- F1: Display Help
- Ctrl + Space: Autocomplete
- F10: Activate menu bar
- Home: Beginning of line
- Alt + F5: Run Error Handler
- Alt + F6: Switch between last two windows
- Alt + F11: Toggle between VBA Editor and Excel
CFI is the official provider of the global Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional resources below will be useful: