Category Archives for "General"

June 2, 2020

High Expectation

The man passed by a shop selling jigsaw puzzles and bought one for his 5 year old son. He can't wait to give it to his son Jordan. Jordan had never played with one before. 

Upon reaching home, he went straight to Jordan's room to show him his favourite cartoon character printed on the box. Jordon's eyes brightened up. The man quickly unwrapped the box and poured the 500 pieces of jigsaw puzzle on the floor and left him to complete it. 

I bet you don’t give your son a 500 pieces puzzle to start with. You would probably give him 10 piece puzzle and show him how to put 2 pieces together. And then you would teach him how the pieces are supposed to fit together to make up the cartoon character.

And when he had completed the puzzle for the very first time with you, you would probably want him to do it again to make sure he knew how to do it all by himself.


When it comes to budgeting, most of you expect your staff to perform like an expert after they were sent for a basic Excel course.

You see, Budgeting in Excel is very similar to a jigsaw puzzle. Knowing the basic Excel skills is not enough. 

Your staffs need to know the functions/formulas before they can use these functions/formulas for budgeting. This is not an easy task and it takes weeks if not months to figure out the process and put into practice. 

But Jason, we don’t have time to do that. The budgeting season is starting soon. 

Well if this is the case, then I am able to help. You see, I understand the problem they are facing and I know which function/formulas are needed for budgeting. And I have created a proprietary process which will be able to shorten the time taken for budgeting from a few months to just days.

This means that they don't have to figure that out any more and they can simply learn what is necessary to get the job done.  And the process they learned can be applied to other areas of their job as well once they see how it works.  I won’t waste their time and yours by subjecting them to the all functions and formulas type of training which they may not use for the next 20 years.

And with a few practice which will just take only hours, they will be able to do this all on their own. How about that?

Complete the form below for a non-obligation chat with me if you value your staff time and want to have a stress free budget.  

June 1, 2020

Is it worth it?

My bluetooth ear piece cannot connect to my laptop. I tried to turn on and off, reboot the computer, delete and set up the device again. All didn't help.

I googled for the driver and click on the support link. It went to a 404 page, meaning that the page cannot be found. I called Plantronics and after a long long wait, I got to someone. It was the wrong line. I was re-directed to another line and the wait started all over again.

When I finally got to talk to the right person and explained to him what happened, the line was cut off before the customer service guy could respond to me. The guy got my number but he didn't call me back. I give up.

I have wasted the entire morning with this and yet it cannot be resolved. 

Do you have the same experience like me when it comes to corporate budgeting?

When we do corporate budgeting, one of the many fears we had was broken links. When it happened, it sent a shiver down our spine. And we started to question ourselves - 

  • Was this the only broken link?
  • What if there were others and we were not aware of?
  • Did we incorporate the numbers from all the departments in the budget?

We do not know what had caused the broken link especially when we have checked and ensured that all the links were valid. We couldn't develop a plan to prevent it. And history always repeated itself.

Somebody recommended to me budgeting software. I tried a number of them. They were not as good as Excel because they took away the flexibility Excel offered, such as

  1. copying the formula across the columns with one click,
  2. scroll left and right and up and down easily. ​
  3. printing the budget within one page for viewing and checking.

Excel still reigns.

Not wanting to be overcome by this fear of corporate budgeting, I started to study the functions in Excel and tried to see how I can jump out of this budgeting nightmare. 

After many trials over the years, I finally managed to find the right model to corporate budgeting with the following advantages.

  • No more linking to other worksheets with formulas
  • No more multiple files to consolidate the results.
  • No more multiple files to break down the company expenses by department.
  • And it takes less than one hour to setup. It is that fast. 

If you are struggling with corporate budgeting and would like to know how my solution can help you, drop me a text to find out. No worries, there is no obligation for asking. 

May 28, 2020

How to create a professional employee evaluation report without repetitive copy and paste

It is time for employee evaluation. Armed with the employee data worksheet,

the skills evaluation worksheet

the mean score worksheet,

you start to present your case and flipping from one worksheet to another. Not only it appears uncool, it can perceived that you are not well prepared for the meeting. Why not put them together and give a one screen summary like the one below and have a fruitful discussion?

If you wish to find out more, watch the video below.

May 14, 2020

How to create a re-certification report

re-certification report

Create a re-certification report using Pivot Table is easy. Watch the video below to find out. If you like what you see, help me like the post and share it with your L&D friends.

Reports are easy to create, if and only if you have the correct set of data to work on. In our courses, we use the iiMAP framework to create any report that is easy to maintain. It is not complicated but requires you to possess a certain level of skills in 3 areas, Excel, Database knowledge and your domain knowledge (in this case L&D). We have 

  • public runs (Fixed outline)
  • customized courses (learn what you need to know)
  • coaching program (hand hold you as you create that report)
  • and consultancy (building the reports for you).

Contact me if you want to have a quick turnaround time for your reports.

April 29, 2020

You can never create a successful data Visualization with this data

Pivot Table Friendly data

Source: (The Humanitarian Data Exchange)

This looks like a great set of data at one glance. Every detail seems to be there. But if you wish to create a data visualization project with the data, you will surely fail. 

This is because the data is not in Pivot Table friendly layout. 

What Pivot Table friendly layout has got to do with Data Visualization?

You see, Pivot Table was designed for basic data visualization. Those who were successful in creating a Pivot Table did in in less than 3 minutes. Most of them did not know that they were using Pivot Table friendly data and therefore managed to do it for some but not others. The first experience was not replicated.

Others failed not because they are bad with data. It's because the data they were using was not in Pivot Table friendly format. Therefore, they failed to create one. ​

Here's how a Pivot Table friendly layout looked like.

Pivot Table Friendly Layout

To be be able to create a successful Pivot Table or Data Visualization Project all the time, you need to know first what is a Pivot Table friendly layout before you jumped into data visualization. That's where I can be of help to you. If you wish to be successful in creating a report whether it is in Pivot Table or for Data Visualization, you need to attend our course. It is happening on 19& 20 May 2020, 9am to 5pm (SGT), online. Drop me a text for more details.

April 16, 2020

What is Sales Data?


Our estate has a chat group to buy fresh seafood. The salesperson will deliver the stuff to our estate without delivery fees. This week, there is one group buy. When she tally the orders, I saw the order was written on a piece of paper. There is nothing wrong in writing the details on a piece of paper. It is still a sales record, hence, it is still a database. The problem with this approach is that when she needs to collect money from the customers, she will need to re-organize the orders all over again, this time by customers. 

A simple spreadsheet could have captured the details nicely. And if it is a shared worksheet, customers could still amend their orders on their own up to the order closing time. If she has used Excel, she could have pivoted the data and easily summarize the data by products/customers or by customers/products/total amount and avoid duplicate work.

This is just a group buy for one estate. If she has many such cases, she would have saved tons of time sorting out the orders. And over time, she could have created a long records to identify the product preference of customers in each estate and improve her product offering to each estate. 

Without the proper tools, she has wasted time and opportunity to serve her customers better and grow her sales exponentially.

What is a sales database?

Sales database is a record of sales activities. In its simplest form, it tells business owners and sales managers how many units of each products is sold and at what price.

But knowing these 2 column of information is not sufficient to grow the business. It is important to know who the products are sold to, on which day, the size, colour, location (if you have more than one sales locations), salesman who handled the sales. By gathering these information over time, business can offer more products that meet the customers preference and increase their sales over time. For small business owners who do not wish to spend extra on a sales system, Excel is a good tool to create the sales database and level the playing field with the big boys.

March 30, 2020

Free Online Training on Data Visualization with Power BI

Data Visualization Project

What is Data Visualization?

Data Visualization is to present your data in pictures. It makes complex data more accessible, understandable and usable. In today's context, data visualization has an added element of interactivity, where you interact with the picture for more details.

Who need Data Visualization?

People who use Data Visualization includes but not limited to business planning, sales and marketing, finance, logistics, healthcare, human resources, and politics. Contrary to normal perception, creating data visualization is not limited to experts. Anyone can create a data visualization, even with a small dataset.   

In this training, I am going to share with you can create data visualization with a small dataset to track the spread of COVID-19 in the different countries.

Who should attend this training?

This training is for these groups of people:

Business Planning Professionals - evaluate the viability of the plans proposed for the company

Marketing Professionals - evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns

Sales Professionals - identifies the top selling products in your area or your customers.

Finance Professionals - identify the profitability of the customers, goods and services.

Logistics Professionals - Tracking the supply of goods and services from multiple locations

Human Resources - tracking the recruitment and retention of good quality employees. 

Learning and Development professionals - identify the staffs who needs to be equipped with data visualization skills.

Why Covid-19 data?

We use Covid-19 data for the training because you do not have to put in extra effort to understand the numbers and it is real data which do not require any sanitization. It is also a simple set of data to use to learn about data visualization.

How is the online training conducted?

We have designed the online training by progressively introduce functions that are easy to implement and add on new functionality as we progress into the training. 

Outline of the online training

  1. Quick Orientation to Zoom
  2. How the training will be conducted?
  3. Layout of the COVID-19 data
  4. Creating the COVID-19 Data Visualization
  5. Questions and Answers
  6. What have you learnt from the training?
  7. What most trainers will not tell you about Data Visualization
  8. What is I2MAP Framekwork and why it is important.

Outcome of the training

At the end of the one hour training, you will be able to complete the data visualization shown below:

Details of the online training

Note: Please note that Video must be turned on during the training. DO find a spot when you attend the live online training.

Andrea Rinaldi

Andrea Rinaldi

Many thanks: I just want to tell you all my appreciation about the webinar on Power BI I had the opportunity to attend to, few days ago.

Being a newbie in this item it has been a very opportunity to me to learn something of very new and useful. Over all thanks to your so skilled and friendly explanations and I look forward to take part to any subsequent online meeting on this subject you had to schedule from now on, for what I 'll be so grateful to be kept duly up-to-date.

 Many thanks so far so good.

Register for the FREE online training below: 

March 19, 2020

My nightmare in budgeting


I walked into the M1 (MobileOne Pte Ltd) Office. It was 8.30am. Like everyone else, it was a normal daily routine. But for us in the business planning team, our working hours did not end at 5.30pm. We started to work on the budget from 5.30pm. It was like another part-time job but without additional pay. We would work till midnight before we headed home. By the time we reached home, our families were asleep. When we left for work the next day, they were still sleeping. This routine would continue for a month, 7 days a week.

That was the time when we used the traditional way to budgeting. We would link up all the cost center templates in one file and had a master template to add up all the numbers. Knowing that the management needed to see the breakdown for major expenses, we would start to link those costs together in advance so that we did not have to work longer hours later. But there were new items they would want to see. Sometimes, what we prepared in advanced were not used because the focus would change. So we would have done some "redundant" templates and had to create new ones on the fly.

Even though I had left M1, I did not stop exploring solution to shorten this exercise which still existed today. I wanted to help those who are not stuck in this situation. I am glad that I had found a great solution for this. With the new functions in Excel called PowerQuery, PowerPivot and PowerView (Power BI), I am able to shorten the whole exercise by 90%. Instead of days to consolidate the numbers, I can single highhandedly consolidate the numbers in hours and I have no worries that the numbers would change. Everything are consolidated dynamically and updates are just a few minutes away. 

Are you still budgeting in the traditional way? Share with me your challenges in the comments. I might be able to help you.

March 18, 2020

The first simple step to master data visualization


Data visualization is the in thing now when it comes to presentation. The pictures and graphics tells a story and it is interesting to look at. Management love the graphics and the fact that they can drill down for further information. 

Most people would jump right into a data visualization course hoping to produce the same type of visualization that is shown to them. I believe majority of them experienced a steep learning curve when they attended a 3-days course on data visualization. And it is not surprising to see most of them are unable to create a data visualization when they are back in the office. That is because the data that is used in the course is perfect. When they are back in the office, their data is not perfect. 

If you are currently experiencing that, I would advise you to review the layout of your data, the first simple step to master data visualization. If you are not laying out your data in the correct manner to begin with, you can forget about the final step in data visualization that is supposed to attract bells and whistles.