Ever suspected someone has changed your file or report in Excel or edited places you didn't want them touching? Or it is that you have two different files that should have some similarities and you want to know where the difference lie.

If you use Excel 2013 or Excel 2016 professional plus, then you should start celebrating. Microsoft has included a very helpful tool called Inquire that does that comparison of files for you on any level of detail you want. 

Below is an illustration of me using it to compare two different version of same loan repayment computation file. See how easy it is to use. (You'll first have to enable it, then use).

image: ejbastes.com

Last week, I was hired as a facilitator for a one week "Excel for Business" training for NNPC senior (looking) staff. While teaching them the financial calculations formulas in Excel, I told them I was going to show them the magic of compound interest. That if I started saving N12,000 monthly in a 15% annual interest rate account from the age of 20 and another person started saving N100,000 monthly in a 15% annual interest rate account from the age of 40, and we both retire at the age of 60; I am going end up with more money that the other person. I wished you were there to see the serious look of disbelief on their faces. 

We did the calculation and not only would I have more money but my money would be more than double that of the other person. I told them that's the magic of compound interest -- when your interest earns interest for you. Then I told them knowing this permanently changed my life -- especially my lifestyle and my friends. It is the basis for my preferred way to building wealth.

We all know that the secret to financial happiness is spending less than you earn, but what many of us underestimate is the innate desire we have to spend. The brain is an expert at justifying spending. And without superior arguments that knowledge of the magic of compound interest provides, you will seldom win the battle to not spend.

I know too many people who are not terrible with their finances but because they don't understand the magic of compound interest in achieving wealth, they only save for a long time to spend all on something big. So theirs is more of delayed spending, rather than saving to build wealth. 

I save/invest to build a passive income that can fund my expenses and any wild adventures, without dipping into my original capital. That sounds too theoretical. So here's something more practical sounding -- Jim Ovia will be getting a dividend of N12 billion as a shareholder in Zenith Bank this year. Even if he buys a private island or squanders all that money, his original investment is intact, growing and will generate even more of such money for him in coming years. All you needed to be getting that type of benefit was to have invested couple of millions of Naira in Zenith Bank shares about two decades ago. You didn't need to have started the bank or play any active role in it. That is the magic of compounded growth (which is the foundation of every proper investing/saving).

For the past four years Microsoft has been inviting me for fully sponsored events in USA, Dubai, Turkey, Netherlands, South Africa and a few other places. All required from me was to pay my flight (and visa). It was only the first year, I made efforts to go. Now I think of what that $2,500 I will spend on flight and comfort will be within just a few years of compound interest magic. So I don't go. The one that held this month in USA, all the other MVPs (Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals) in Nigeria went and said people asked about me (the missing guy). That is how seriously I take this saving/investing thing. I have become a miser. I have no qualms spending on my business or ideas that will generate income. Just last month, I bought a N560,000 laptop. The dollar funds I wouldn't dip my hand into for flight to USA, I speedily withdrew from when I wanted to build my stock analysis app. I spent about N1.5 million on tax matters (N700,000 for VAT and N800,000 for auditing) last year (to a government that mostly squanders the money). That alone is enough reason to want to spend something on oneself. But when I think of the magic of compound interest, I would rather save/invest.

My recommended path to achieving wealth is saving or investing in a high yield account/instrument. 

One of the people in the NNPC class remarked that life is too short and I would miss out from the opportunities those events open up. Those are sacrifices I am willing to take. By the way, when you die whether you've visited all the countries in the world or never seen beyond your corner of the earth, will not matter. And as regards opportunities my miserly lifestyle will deny me, I don't care. I get too many opportunities I pass on already. Plus, in my line of work there will always be a client willing to fund my traveling as part of the consulting work to be done for them (so they cover my travel, hotel, feeding and still pay me for my time + expertise).

Ultimately, my advice to you if you are an average Nigerian like me and young, is that think about the many startups that start gloriously and fold up later. Then think about your Instagram friends and Facebook friends who are starting life on the fast lane. Wealth is not about what you spend but what you have after spending. And with compound interest, better to delay your spending as far into the future as you can. 

image: economist.com
Except you are very familiar with the following Bible passage, "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Rev 3:16), then you might not fully understand how much I avoid lukewarm water. My distaste for lukewarm water ended up making me take more of soft drinks. There is just something uninviting about that taste of room temperature water. And when I am ill, I totally just want to avoid it. It is like a punishment for me to take drugs with room temperature water.

It is not really that I like Coke (Coca-Cola) or Pepsi or any of the other drinks I end up buying and drinking, the real problem is that I dislike lukewarm water. While in university when you remember to drink water only after you are almost dying from thirst and can't afford Coke or any of them bottled drink, it was not a big problem. I drank mostly cold sachet water. But as I got out of university and started earning money and could afford them fizzy drinks, it became a daily affair. I would down my lunch food with a bottle of Pepsi or Coke every workday. 

Then I became more health conscious, and don't laugh at this: my bright healthy idea was to limit my soft drink intake to one 50cl bottle a day. And it didn't always work out that way -- some days I would down more than one bottle and other days I would deliberately go out of my way to buy a bottle of Coke or Pepsi when it's almost end of day and it's looking like I might end up not drinking any that day.

After a couple of months/years, it occurred to me to go zero sugar. To buy Pepsi Light or Coke Zero or Sans Creme Soda or any other low/zero sugar drink. I felt proud of myself. And would buy them in bulk amount so I don't have to hunt around for them. Well, recently I found out that it's another terrible idea.

I did a thorough reading online -- reading through research papers and health articles on health safety of zero sugar drinks. They are no good. The sugar substitutes used to make them sweet without adding calories confuses the body system and interferes with the proper functioning of the body (in a small way but still worth paying good attention to). You drink them and your body thinks food has come, and your taste buds and digestive system and food hormones believe its the natural sugar but encounters something they are not configured to handle. It totally disrupts their response and creates other types of problems you don't want.

So what is the healthy alternative to soft drinks? Well, the answer is and has always been water. And if you are like me, maybe cold or hot water. Now I am doing the right healthy choice. I make it my goal to drink only water. I will fail at it, but will be happy with a 70% success rate.

I'm back again. 

Hope you missed me.

If you do a lot of online transactions like me -- buy stuffs on Amazon, pay for online web hosting, buy domains from Godaddy, watch Netflix, pay for Google advertising, pay for business tools in dollars and doing an online MBA with a foreign university -- then you should ditch GTBank, FCMB, Zenith Bank and every other bank that charges you more than N362/$. You should get an Ecobank Naira MasterCard and start enjoying lower than mallam rates. GTBank bills me at over N367/$ and FCMB does about N380/$.

See screenshots below:

GTBank charged N7,344.61 for $20, rate was N367.23/$

FCMB charged N5,704.12 for $15, rate was N380.27/$

Ecobank charged N5,430.00 for $15, rate was N362/$

When I discovered this last month, I even stopped funding my dollar account from mallams at N364/$ and started using Ecobank Naira Mastercard for all my foreign denominated online transactions. I immediately removed the other cards from my Amazon account, Paypal account, Netflix account, Quickbooks account, Microsoft Azure account, ExpressVPN account and every other accounts that charge me in dollars. Most importantly, it improved my margin on my US iTunes gift card sales site (before with the GTBank rate I was not making profits, then I switched to sourcing dollars from mallam to fund my Dollar card at N364/$). Now I am less stressed and happier with Ecobank rates.

And that's my useful tip for you today. I have many other things to share since the last post I made. A lot has happened and I am not sure which to keep to myself and which to share. See you again tomorrow!

It is today, at 3:00pm Nigerian time. Joining link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJNHmMf3nNw And if you won't be able make the live webinar, you will can access the recording on YouTube via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJNHmMf3nNw

I have been teaching professionals from different companies and countries Power BI since 2015.

Many people still find it tough to grasp what the value is in using Power BI or what business intelligence really is. Some even see it as one of those shinny new tools that line consultants pockets with money but provide not much tangible value for the company.

In this webinar, I will attempt to condense my two days class into a 45 mins one focusing more on helping you understand the value of business intelligence and how Power BI works in creating value beyond what is possible with Microsoft Excel.

So make it a day with us and you'll be on your way to grasping the practical use of business intelligence via Power BI.

Date: Wednesday, 28th February 2018
Time: 3:00pm -- 4:00pm (Nigerian time)
Venue: YouTube live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJNHmMf3nNw)

See you!

I have been teaching professionals from different companies and countries Power BI since 2015.

Many people still find it tough to grasp what the value is in using Power BI or what business intelligence really is. Some even see it as one of those shinny new tools that line consultants pockets with money but provide not much tangible value for the company.

In this webinar, I will attempt to condense my two days class into a 45 mins one focusing more on helping you understand the value of business intelligence and how Power BI works in creating value beyond what is possible with Microsoft Excel.

So make it a day with us and you'll be on your way to grasping the practical use of business intelligence via Power BI.

Date: Wednesday, 28th February 2018
Time: 3:00pm -- 4:00pm (Nigerian time)
Venue: YouTube live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJNHmMf3nNw)

See you!

image: creditdonkey.com

You can read more from the author, Kenneth Doghudje, at https://moneytalkng.com

Wealth, riches and financial success is the result of teamwork. It is usually the product of several parties coming together with a common objective, and working systematically towards its attainment. In other words becoming wealthy is the culmination of various contributions from a number of people.

It is a misnomer to use the term “self-made” to describe any of the nearly two thousand billionaires (in dollars) on the planet today. No one is self-made; we are all products of influences. Billionaires didn’t just fall into wealth, they were trained, mentored, assisted, empowered, encouraged and motivated to attain financial heights. They were given a helping hand at some point or the other as they climbed up the financial ladder.

Just as the old saying goes, “behind every successful man there is a woman” I boldly declare to you today that, “behind every rich man there is a team.” I call it, “the money team,” a term borrowed from Floyd Mayweather Jnr., the highest paid athlete in the world of professional sport. In order to build wealth you will need to cultivate your own money team, comprising individuals with the required skill sets to build wealth. 

So who are those characters that make up a successful money team? 

The first player on your money team is a lawyer who is well versed in business matters. Controlling great wealth and fortune always involves contracts and agreements because these documents are the vehicles used in closing big deals.  They contain terms and conditions which must be thoroughly vetted by an adviser who has your interests at heart before you sign them. No one is going to do big business without a signed agreement so your lawyer is there to advise you so that you don’t lose money or embark on unprofitable ventures. Make sure your lawyer thoroughly vets any documents before you sign them. You would be wise to listen to their advice before deciding to act.

No money team can be complete and fully empowered to create wealth without a banker. You will need other people’s money at some stage in your financial life if you want to attain major financial success. It is unlikely that you will have all the capital needed to finance large business opportunities so having a banker on the team comes handy to get loans at the best rates. Many times the bankers push to get loan facilities for their clients because they believe in what they are doing. You can’t afford to distrust bankers if you are serious about building wealth. Embrace them instead.

You need to engage the services of an accountant as part of your money team. The accountant will take care of the books, thereby giving your business a semblance of order and professionalism which will resonate with anyone that wants to give you big deals or help you access substantial business opportunities. Such big players always ask for financial statements of performance and compliance with regulatory requirements such as tax matters etc. An accountant is a must have.

Fourth no money team is complete without a cheerleader. When the challenges and storms associated with building wealth knock on your door there had better be someone around to cheer you up. Your cheerleader could be your spouse, family member or anyone who believes in you. There will be times you want to give up, this person is there to keep urging you on to achieve your goals. You need a cheerleader in your corner to keep you motivated.

Building wealth is not rocket science, it is actually the product of applying laws. It is imperative you work with someone who can coach or mentor you towards its acquisition. Your money team must include a teacher or mentor. Now this is equally important as he or she has succeeded in doing what you are trying to do. Your mentor has the requisite knowledge, experience and expertise to aid you on the path to your success. A mentor will shorten the time it takes to achieve success as you will receive advice that will help you avoid unnecessary delays or pitfalls. Your mentor may not be readily accessible but you can gain from the wealth of knowledge by reading books and studying other materials they have written.

Sixth, you need spiritual advice to keep you grounded as there is a tendency to go overboard when trying to build a fortune. Many people on this quest have ended up destroying themselves. A spiritual adviser is there to help you keep everything in proper perspective. Money is important, but it is not everything there is to life.

There is also the need to effectively make use of the gains and incomes earned so the services of an investment adviser is required as part of your money team. Now there are several investment vehicles to choose from when you want to invest your resources, your investment adviser comes in handy to assist you in drawing up an investment plan and sticking to it.

Finally your money team would be incomplete without an assistant, a support staff whose role is to assist in the execution of plans and strategies. Building great wealth requires a lot of activities being undertaken, all at the same time that it might be too much for only you to handle. This is where another person can help so that more things can get done much faster.

Building wealth requires great effort and knowledge which is impossible to be undertaken by one individual. In most cases he or she will need the help of others. In my study of the lives of several billionaires I discovered they all have a team of people working behind the scenes, and assisting them to amass wealth, and in the process becoming wealthy themselves. Serious wealth cannot be built by one person alone. So start now to put together your money team. You will be utilizing one of the strategies of the financially successful when you do so.

Author's Profile:
Kenneth Doghudje is intensely committed to seeing people achieve their financial goals and aspirations in Africa. A CEO by day and a blogger by night, he believes that the secret to anyone succeeding financially is to mix workable insights with action which translates to wealth and riches.

Please endeavor to visit www.moneytalkNG.com for more articles on money and personal finance. You can also follow Kenneth on social media: @moneytalkNG on twitter, moneytalkNG on Facebook & Instagram
Old habits die hard. One of my 2018 new year resolutions is to reduce talking about myself online. I have talked too much about every tiny bit of my life the past four years that I want to try not talking anymore and put more effort into doing. That is why you have stopped receiving daily blog posts from me. 

Then again, old habits die hard.

Since the last time I talked about myself -- getting into IoD (Institute of Directors), trouble with VIO (my car finally passed on 3rd retry) and French adventures -- a lot has happened in my life.

1. I lost my phone (pickpocket guy) and bought the most amazing phone I have ever had. An LG G4 with camera module. It's camera is WOW. Got it at a crazy deep discount (approx. 60% discount) at SLOT.

See a picture I took with it

Where I stayed In South Africa
2. Executed Power BI consulting project in Ghana and South Africa (same client). Not sure I have cool pictures from the Ghana one. The host company folks were very nice and took me to very nice places in Ghana and South Africa. I went to the tallest building in Ghana where one of the company staff lives, Villagio and the bar on the roof (Skybar). Ate at amazing Chinese restaurant (Imperial Peking Chinese Restaurant).
Tried out the local Ghanaian dishes

The view from on top Skybar (the cars and all look like Christmas light)
In South Africa, I went to the popular Mandela Square. Ate at Butcher's Shop, The Baron and Hard Rock cafe.

Took advantage of my IoD benefits to use SDS lounge at MMA (paid a ridiculously low amount due to deep discount for IoD members)

The Game of the Day (animal in the pics) I ate at Butcher's Shop
Nelson Mandela Square

Me, in jeans 😀

On the very street I stayed
3. We now Have Two Full-Time Staff. They are simply the best! And business is getting better and better. Thinking of adding a third full-time staff. I still have other non full-time team members. In fact, the two full-time staff used to be non full-time team members. Our business monthly overhead/expenses is now over N500,000. I am now learning to not just lead a team but build a proper company. Thanking everyone of you who has morally and technically supported me thus far.

4. My Power BI book is on fire on Amazon. Sales are like I have never experienced for all my prior books combined. Almost, everyday I am generating sales across the e-book and more expensive print version.

You can grab your copy at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078NF5XYP 

5. I got a new Microsoft Certification this month. Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). Did the qualifying exam last year but result just came out a few days ago. I am now on course (just one remaining exam away from MCSA BI Reporting certification).

Done with the 70-779 exam, 70-778 is left to earning the MCSA BI reporting certification

Now you can get iTunes Cards extremely easily and pay in Naira from www.usitunescard.com The cards are valid for US iTunes account only.

And here is a personal story that led to this.

It all started in 2013 (or so) when I needed to buy a movie on iTunes and it was no small trouble. Many contents aren't available for the Nigerian iTunes account. The changing your country to US makes those contents available but then you have to pay with a US debit card (one with a US billing address). After hours and days of troubles, I ended up buying a US iTunes gift card and loading on my US iTunes account.

Soon, I started buying more gift cards. And then I noticed that there would be people like me needing such cards too. So I did a market entry test. And was amazed by how much demand there is for US iTunes cards, even had a few people contact me from outside the country (India, Pakistan etc). Seems the problem isn't just here in Naija.

So I have now built www.usitunescard.com to solve that problem easily for all Nigerians.

I sell the cards at almost the same amount it costs to get them directly from Apple (actual face value). Added the Paystack transaction charge and accommodation for exchange rate fluctuation but it still comes at less than N400/$ to the buyer/customer. While others on Konga and other e-stores are selling as high as a rate of N600/$ and more.

$5 iTunes card sells for N1,999
$10 iTunes card sells for N3,999
$15 iTunes card sells for N5,999
$25 iTunes card sells for N10,999
$50 iTunes card sells for N19,999
$100 iTunes card sells for N39,999

It is the cheapest I have seen anyone sell iTunes Cards here in Nigeria. Below are screenshots of how much the same cards are sold for on Konga

Again, the store link is www.usitunescard.com 

Guaranteed low prices and instant delivery always!

 Power BI visuals are the actual elements — tables, charts, filters/slicers, maps, etc — that present the data in your report. By default, Power BI comes with 29 visuals.

They are:

1. Stacked Bar Chart: This allows you to create a bar chart with the breakdowns (field in legend) stacked on top of each other. It can be used to show total sales with breakdown by products or region. It has five components — Axis (where you put the field that should have separate bars, like date), Legend (where you put the field to stack one on another for each category in the axis, e.g. products or regions; anything you drag into Legend comes out with different colors), Value (where you put the field with the figures you want to plot), Color Saturation (allows you to represent the values in a field on a light to dark color intensity on the plotted value bars. You can’t use it and Legend together. A likely use will be to show volume/quantity of products sold while the bar values present the sales amount), and Tooltips (allows you to show extra details, like price per unit of the product).

2. Stacked Column Chart: Technically same as the Stacked Bar Chart just the orientation is different, its bars are vertical.

3. Clustered Bar Chart: The difference between this and the stacked one is that it has the breakdowns (legend values) plotted on independent bars rather than stacked one on another.

4. Clustered Column Chart: The difference between this and the stacked column chart is that it has the breakdowns (legend values) plotted on independent bars rather than stacked one on another.

5. 100% Stacked Bar Chart: This has the legend values (breakdown) expressed as percentages of the total value per axis item. Useful for showing relative contribution of sales by the different branches to total sales each day/month. And if you work with market research data, excellent for market share representation.

6. 100% Stacked Column Chart: Just as you would have guessed, it is the column version of the 100% Stacked Bar Chart.

7. Line Chart: Has all the components of the Bar/Column chart except the Color Saturation one. The line chart is to show trend (change over time), so you should always put a date or time field in the Axis.

8. Area Chart: It is very much like the line chart but with the area under the lines shaded. Has same components as the line chart.

9. Stacked Area Chart: You already know area chart, this is when you stack the legend entries one on another.

10.        Line and Stacked Column Chart: This is just combining line chart with column chart in the same visual. It is what we call Combo Chart in Excel and can be useful for showing two distinct insights in one visual — like the gross margin as a line chart and the revenue as a column chart over a period of time.

11.        Line and Clustered Column Chart: Again, just like the line and stacked column one except that the columns aren’t stacked.

12.        Ribbon Chart: This chart is a lot like the area chart but with the added advantage that it makes it easier to see the changes in the values of the entries in the legend.

13.        Waterfall Chart: This chart is for showing the movement in a metric over a period of time, emphasizing the initial value and the end value. It is a beloved chart of finance analysts, it is often used to present changes in a company’s cashflow from opening cashflow to closing cashflow over a reporting financial period.

14.        Scatter Chart: This chart is for showing the relationship between two variables. That is why it requires you put a field in X-axis and another in Y-axis. And it can also serve as bubble chart, you only need to drag the field to determine the bubble size into Size.

15.        Pie Chart: This chart shows relative contribution of entries in the field put in the Legend to the field put in the Values. You can also put a field with additional useful information in the Details.

16.        Donut Chart: It is exactly pie chart but with the traditional donut hole.

17.        Treemap: This chart shows relative contribution but unlike pie chart that fits everything in a big circle this one fits everything in a resizable rectangle.

18.        Map: The name is very self-explanatory. Normally, you would drag countries/cities or any location field to Location but if the locations are not very popular places you might need to get the GPS coordinates and place in the Latitude and Longitude.

19.        Filled Map: It is like the Map but fills the entire location area on the map taking the shape of the country/state/city.

20.        Funnel: This chart is best for stage-like fields and values. Popular for sales conversion records. You can put the sales/conversion stages in the Group.

21.        Gauge: This chart is great for showing the values against target on a gauge-like scale. And you can set the dimensions (minimum and maximum of the scale).  It is one of the few visuals that allow you to set an alert on in the published Power BI dashboard

22.        Card: It displays just one thing. Can be very useful for showing total sales, KPI figure and counts (like number of stores or orders). It is also one of the visuals that allow you to set an alert on it in the published Power BI dashboard.

23.        Multi-row Card: It is like card with extra features — ability to display values of more than one field. An example is sales by branch.

24.        KPI: It shows the variance between a value and its set target. Very useful for key performance indicators (KPIs).

25.        Slicers: I often call them nicer filters. Work exactly as a filter.

26.        Table: It is an intuitive table that aggregates the fields you put in intelligently.

27.        Matrix: It is exact replica of PivotTable. We have already used it in the last sample project.

28.        R Script Visual: This allows you to run R scripts in Power BI. Might be of particular interest to people already proficient in data analysis using R.

29.        ArcGIS Maps for Power BI: This is very much like Map but with some peculiar features you might find very useful.

Lastly, Power BI allows you to access more visuals to use in your reports via Custom Visuals on the Home menu.