Many people might still equate farming as a relatively low-tech enterprise involving small teams. In fact, the opposite is often true – farming can be a high-cost business that needs as much strategic planning and foresight as some Fortune 500 firms. The one thing they may share in common with more traditional finance departments is the use of Microsoft Excel as their tool of choice.
Just take a look at this recent post on Country Guide, a trade publication for the Canadian agriculture industry, which suggested that farms stick with what’s tried and true versus relying on simplistic smartphone apps:
You’re better off with an old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet, and thanks to government extension staff in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, there are many adaptations where you can plug in data to help make better short- or long-term decisions on your farm. They’re especially useful for “what if” decisions on whether purchasing equipment or inputs improves profitability. Buy more cows? Use more nitrogen? Rent more land? There’s a spreadsheet for that and more.
The article walks through each of the calculators in question, but the point should be obvious to those who work in sectors far different than farming: Excel remains adaptable to a seemingly infinite variety of scenarios.
Need more proof? Consider a piece from Lifehacker, where a popular tech gadget guru turns to Excel for a far different decision-making process: the choice of Intel processor for those building a gaming workstation.
“The spreadsheet is a collection of all of Intel’s currently available processors, complete with filters that make it easy to sort out the ones you’re not interested in,” the article says. “He also offers some step-down picks for people building on a budget, or building workstations without gaming or content creation in mind.”