Last year, we had a great time rubbing minds on the amazing things one could do with Microsoft Excel and had a presentation on other data analytics platforms. There were participants from all over Nigeria and the community has kept growing strong and sharing career growing knowledge.

This year, there will be a similar meetup/conference and you can RSVP at

Below is the agenda:

Nigerian Excel Users 2018 Meetup
The Zone Tech Park, Plot 9 Gbagada Industrial Scheme, UPS b/stop, Gbagada - Oshodi Expressway, Lagos.
1st September, 2018 (10:00am to 3:30pm)

Start Time: 10:00am

1) Introduction and networking (25 mins)

2) General Discussions pt 1(Your Excel Journey, career advantage, Excel pet peeves, ideas, the esoteric, 40 mins)

3) Presentation 1 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins)

4) Presentation 2 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins)

5) Break (10 mins)

6) Presentation 3 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins)

7) Presentation 4 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins)

8) Break (10 mins)

9) Presentation 5 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins)

10) Presentation 6 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins)

11) General Discussions pt 2 (Your Excel Journey, career advantage, Excel pet peeves, ideas, the esoteric, 30 mins)

12) Close (5 mins)

End Time: 3:30pm (Networking continues)

There will be drinks and snacks.

Also, if you are interested in making a presentation, then you can fill the following Google form (link here)

The new Pension Fund Plans (courtesy,

Last week, a big brother asked me what I think about switching from Fund 2 to Fund 1. Fund 2 is the default plan for everyone below age 50 years. 

Below is my reply, as usual, sprinkled with my deep bias. Enjoy. 😁

Variable investment instruments mean stocks, real estate, corporate bonds etc.

You can download and read the official doc from PenCom

Fund 1 is mandated to invest between 20% to 75% in stocks, real estate and other volatile assets while Fund 2 can only invest between 10% to 55% in such assets. Fund 2 is the default for people below 50 years old.

Switching from Fund 2 to Fund 1 means you are okay with greater exposure to the stocks market and other volatile assets class. Mathematically, you are expected to gain more potential returns (in fact, a sure higher return over the long term) but there are two reality issues that can negate that:

  1. Our Nigerian stocks, real estate and corporate bond market is not well developed and not efficient, resulting in all manners of non-theoretically expected results. For instance, our stocks market is more influenced by foreign investors inflow/outflow than the actual by-the-book dynamics that should reflect a stock’s price. Our real estate market is not organized and all the REITS (real estate investment trusts, funds) are very poorly performing. These fundamental distortions amplify the risks one face, and greatly lengthens the time it will take to assuredly get the higher returns expected.
  2. If you are about 10 years or less to reaching 50, when the PFA will have to mandatorily move you to another plan (with reduced exposure to volatile assets) you might not have enough time to gain that promised higher return rate, and might experience less return on your pension fund compared to someone who stayed in Fund 2.
 From my experience with mutual funds, they are not good at stock picking, they often buy/sell too often raking transaction charges that come straight out of your money and still charge their management fees. I have stopped using stocks mutual funds* because over the last 7 years of using them, they’ve not done well at all compared to leaving one's money in the money market fund (where most of PFAs have been stacking pension). My Stanbic Pension has performed way better than my Stanbic Mutual Fund since 2011. So I might be even going for Fund 3 (if allowed) rather than let them actively trade my money in Fund 1.

Again, just my biased opinion based on explanations above.

* I do my stocks buying by myself, and have been performing better than ARM Discovery Fund and Stanbic IBTC NEF. So I pulled out my money from those mutual funds.
In case you are not too familiar with SUMIF, SUMIFS, COUNTIF and COUNTIFS, they are a group of formula used to sum or count records that meet a specified criterion. 

Below are some easy to follow examples to help you fully grasp them. You can download the practice file here: 

I have a transaction database for a pizza restaurant and I am interested in total sales for Hot Veggie. With SUMIF I can get that done easily.

=SUMIF(B:B,"Hot Veggie",E:E)

What if we also want to consider other conditions beyond just the name of the pizza sold, say we want to find the sales amount for all the Hot Veggie sold after 8:30 am? 

That is what SUMIFS is for; it is the plural form of SUMIF, allowing you to chain as many conditions as you want.

=SUMIFS(E:E,B:B,"Hot Veggie",F:F,">8:30")

Maybe I am just interested in the number of transactions that are for Hot Veggie. Again, very easy. We just use COUNTIF.

=COUNTIF(B:B,"Hot Veggie")

How about count of transactions for Hot Veggie that happened after 8:30?

=COUNTIFS(B:B,"Hot Veggie",F:F,">8:30")

Now to the very interesting parts. What if I am interested in not just Hot Veggie, but also Meatzaa, Italiano and BBQ Chicken?

Q: Sum all the sales for Meatzaa, Hot Veggie, Italiano and BBQ Chicken
A: =SUM(SUMIF(B:B,{"Meatzaa","Hot Veggie","Italiano","BBQ Chicken"},E:E))

You might wonder why the {..} wrapping the list of pizzas. It is how Excel allows you to specify an array (a list, like we've done). Also, you might wonder why the SUM(...) around the SUMIF formula. It is what allows Excel to sum up all the different answers for each pizza type. See what I mean from the partially calculated formula screenshot below.

And you can use this same pattern for SUMIFS, COUNTIF and COUNTIFS.

Q: Sum all the sales for Meatzaa, Hot Veggie, Italiano and BBQ Chicken after 8:30 am
A: =SUM(SUMIFS(E:E,B:B,{"Meatzaa","Hot Veggie","Italiano","BBQ Chicken"},F:F,">8:30"))

Q: Count of all the transactions for Meatzaa, Hot Veggie, Italiano and BBQ Chicken
A: =SUM(COUNTIF(B:B,{"Meatzaa","Hot Veggie","Italiano","BBQ Chicken"}))

Q: Count of all the transactions for Meatzaa, Hot Veggie, Italiano and BBQ Chicken after 8:30 am
A: =SUM(COUNTIFS(B:B,{"Meatzaa","Hot Veggie","Italiano","BBQ Chicken"},F:F,">8:30"))

For more of these types of very useful tutorials you can check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel

During our monthly training classes, I notice a strong interest in being able to make sales and transactions forecast by participants from retail industry and financial institutions. Their face lit up when I tell them that there are a couple of forecast tools in Microsoft Excel they can make good use of.

In today's post, I will be walking you through those forecast tools with a focus on using them to make sales forecast.

1. Forecast Sheet 

People are usually surprised when I show them this tool. It is one of the tools added to Excel 2016 and Office 365, and you will find it under Data menu. With it you can make very useful time series forecasts that takes into consideration trend and seasonality in your data.

Let's say you work for Cadbury and would like to forecast sales for the ever yummy Bournvita beverage; it is common sense to factor in the reality that sales always spike in some specific months of the year (Christmas hampers period etc.). That is what is beautifully handled by the seasonality component of the forecast sheet tool. And there is also trend (are sales generally trending upwards or downwards). What I most like about it is the flexibility Microsoft put into it: you can handle missing records, set confidence interval, and even let it automatically detect the seasonality.

2. Moving Average

This is the most common forecasting method I see business people use. Any time you are projecting the average growth for the last couple of months or years forward, you are doing plain vanilla Moving Average. Then whenever you take that average and add a magic number to it (like we do in coming up with optimistic case and pessimistic case in most financial modelling), you are still doing Moving Average -- the strawberry and lemon flavoured version of it. And whenever management says they want to double growth rate year on year for the next three years; that, again, is Moving Average.

So how do you do it in Microsoft Excel? If you are okay with typing a simple formula in Excel, then just doing =AVERAGE(last x periods) gets you there.

However, if you are not on friendly terms with Excel formulas, you can take advantage of Moving Average in Excel Data Analysis Toolpak.

Just remember to first activate Data Analysis Toolpak from File >> Options >> Add-ins >> Manage Excel Add-ins 

3. Regression

Let's say you work for Julius Berger Construction company. The company revenue depends on Federal Government budget, GDP growth rate, number of meetings with potential clients, which party is in power, PMI and FDI. Perhaps way more than which month of the year we are in or the previous years revenue. Then it would make better sense to do a forecast model that combines all those factors and give you some sense of what type of revenue figure to expect this year. And more importantly, show you which factors strongly influence your revenue and which are not very important, plus how much you need to do as regards the factors under your control in order to achieve a specific desired revenue goal. 

That forecast model is regression.

It requires a fairly good deal of statistics knowledge but is well worth the work. And Excel has a tool that takes away most of the computational headache. You just do a couple of clicks and read a blog post on how to interpret + use the regression tool results.

You'll find it under the Data Analysis Toolpak I earlier showed you how to activate.

And these are the common sales forecasting tools you should be conversant with in Microsoft Excel. If you look through the Data Analysis Toolpak, you'll find a couple more.

If you enjoyed this and would like to learn more useful analysis tools, you absolutely should subscribe to my YouTube channel and go through my humour filled tutorial video collections. :)

People are surprised when I tell them that my first (and only) degree is in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. And unlike many people, I had the chance to go back to the core Engineering role I studied for but I didn't, only asked my boss to keep the offer open in case I get bored with Microsoft Excel. Now I make my full-time living from Microsoft Excel.

So what are the practical value you get from being good at using Microsoft Excel?

Let's start with in general life, outside of work. Especially for people whose work won't need them using Microsoft Excel.

1. Non-work Use
What do you think I and many other people use for their personal finance planning and investment analysis? Well, it is Microsoft Excel. Even when you buy a personal finance book and additional resources are given you for practical application of what the book is teaching you, those resources often include Microsoft Excel templates.

What do you think people use to track the performance of their side business? Actually, people use all kinds of things to track their side hustle -- from paper + biro, word of mouth, intuition, Microsoft Excel, to sophisticated apps/software. Hope you noticed Microsoft Excel in the list. If you don't have money for sophisticated apps/software and don't want to use paper + pen, Microsoft Excel is more than enough.

What do people use to plan major events and major projects expenses? Microsoft Excel.

Having a good grasp of Microsoft Excel can make many tedious non-work (or even non-data related work) activities a breeze. Imagine an IT guy needing to create email accounts for 120 newly employed staff. With Excel, all he needs to do to reduce the number of keystrokes significantly is to copy their first name and last name into Excel in separate columns, then CONCATENATE (and LEFT if the company uses initials in the email format). 

There are many non-Excel and non-work related stuff I have used Excel for and see others use Excel for. One example I even created a template around for people not Excel savvy is the need to send bulk SMS to dozens or hundreds of people and not wanting to spend an hour on arranging the numbers in the format most bulk SMS platforms require. Another is sending personalized email to your group or community members without doing it one by one or using an email marketing app.

The knowledge of Excel is as good and versatile as the knowledge of basic mathematics. You will always find situations where it will save you time and even prevent you from making wrong decisions.

2. Work Use
The moment you aspire to be part of management, to rise to the level of a CEO or CMO or CFO or COO or CIO or CTO, that moment is your clue to knowing that you can't escape the use of Microsoft Excel in your career. At that top, everything falls on data-driven strategy. You can't sweet talk your fellow CxO and board into doing something you haven't done the Excel analysis around.

I constantly come across people who have risen in their career, following a very technical path, and then suddenly they are part of management or need to work very closely with management, and find that their low competence in using Excel and carrying out data-driven analysis is an embarrassing weakness.

Then there are programmers who just love to hate Excel. They represent a category of people who would like to use something complicated for everything. Then they start having issues with managers who want some type of reports that are best made in Excel. Occasionally, I see them spend time coding a program to do something one off, something very easy and fast to do in Excel. They still don't see the value of Excel until I do it for them in Excel and they go WOW! 

Lastly, if you are a sales analyst or finance manager or accountant or project manager or marketing manager or operations manager or human resource manger and you are not very proficient in the use of Microsoft Excel you might be jeopardizing your productivity. You are supposed to focus more on high level strategy and guiding the management than fighting with data. Being very good with Excel will mean more insightful reports, fast comprehensive analysis, better chart-backed presentations and better decision making based on data. 

If you feel convinced enough to want to up your Excel competence, you can take advantage of my company's free training resources or even take my Udemy course with a certificate for free using this coupon link (just 96 coupons available via that link).

All the best!

Pay yourself first. Sounds quite easy to do, but very few are doing it in practice. In fact, these three words may be what makes the difference between being rich or being poor. The way you deal with your money is a huge pointer of whether you will live in lack or plenty.

Now if there’s anyone who really understands how to amass wealth, then it should be Warren Buffett. Warren’s currently the 3rd richest man in the world, with a net worth of $84 billion. There are surely very few experts on the subject of money with the results that Buffett has.

It is sound wisdom to listen and take heed of what the experts are saying. Mr Buffett reportedly stated, “Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving”. In other words, you should keep some of your earnings for yourself, not spending all of it. Usually nothing is left after spending.

So in the simplest possible terms paying yourself first requires a different approach to handling your money. Stop thinking about your bills and expenses first. Refrain from spending a certain percentage of your income. And this is essentially what the rich people do.

Even though this sounds quite simple and easy to do yet many are not doing it. And there are a lot more people who are not doing it consistently. Riches and wealth building is not complex. The continuous application of simple steps like paying yourself first will lead to wealth in the future.

Here are 12 benefits of paying yourself first. I’m sharing them in order to ginger you to make this part of your lifestyle:

Funds are available for investment
Nearly everyone bemoans a lack of capital to invest. How can there be when you’re spending everything you make paying bills? Don’t just keep funds aside for keeping sake. Put it to work to produce more for you by investing it wisely.
Please note that savings alone cannot make anyone rich. It is saving + investment that leads to wealth and riches.

Paying yourself first is the rich man’s approach to building wealth
This is clearly one of the methods the rich use to build wealth, that the poor tend to neglect. And money discipline is one of the qualities of the rich. Wealth building requires resources. “You need money to make money” as the old adage goes.
Business people normally start out solely funding their business ideas. After a while he/she might seek for additional funding. It’s money saved that’s available to be used for starters. This is the way nearly all successful businesses start out.

You learn to live on less
Dedicating a portion of your earnings as yours means there will be less to live on. Paying yourself first means living off the rest, no matter what. And you can’t go back to spend what you’ve kept aside for investment purposes.
Granted it’s tough living on less. But when you consider what that money you’ve kept aside can do, it’s worth the effort. At the end of the day you’ll definitely be better off for having done this.

Investing becomes a priority, not an after thought
Investing is very important. It’s the key to building serious and lasting wealth. But too many people hardly think about it at all. They’re too busy thinking about how to pay their monthly bills and make ends meet. Now that’s a dangerous way to live life.
Investing should take priority over paying bills. And those who want to come out of the rat race would do well to make investing their priority. It makes one better positioned to take advantage of opportunities for wealth building.

Your money counts toward something worthwhile
You deserve better than to put a huge chunk of your earnings towards your expenses. A portion of your earnings is available to be put towards your financial future. And that’s far better than paying bills and making purchases every month with all that you make.
Life would surely be unfulfilling if you don’t strive to achieve something worthwhile. Paying yourself first gives you a chance to use these resources to push for a better life. With riches comes a better life.

Securing a future income
Securing a future income is a cardinal law of wealth. Those who desire to be wealthy know the importance of a future income. They’re willing and driven to make sacrifices now in order to achieve their wealth goals in the nearest future.
It pays to embrace discipline and frugality in the present with the hope of securing a future income. Investing one’s savings wisely would lead to this positive outcome.

Prioritise your spending
When there’s less to spend it means spending patterns will have to change. Spending decisions will be subject to more analysis and scrutiny. And going forward sacrifices and cuts will have to be made. "Is this necessary?", "Can I do without it for now?" are some of the questions you might ask before spending.
Clearly if something’s not a priority it will not be spent on, pure and simple.

Embrace Budgeting
budget is a strategic document that helps you to know where your money is going. It provides one with clarity regarding the ins and outs of one’s money. Greater monitoring and control can only lead to a greater understanding of one’s financial affairs.
A future financial goal acts as a major incentive to make better use of one’s current earnings. The more concerned one is about his financial state, the more the use of tools like a budget to track your money.

The ability to start saving small-small towards your future
Great things start small. And there’s wisdom in starting to take small steps towards a secure financial future. Start by saving small sums first. And gradually increase the amounts over time, especially when your earnings also increase.
The future you desire is still some ways ahead. But you will need funds to make it a reality. It’s not too late to start out now, no matter how little. It’s not starting at all that is unacceptable. So start where you are with what you can keep aside.

Builds discipline
Kentin Watts in his article, “7 reasons you really need to pay yourself first (seriously)” stresses that it builds discipline. And discipline is seriously required to achieve anything or to attain any height in life.
Wealth building thrives on the notion of postponing gratification of desires till a later time. You’re expected to put your desires in check and channel some of your resources into more productive pursuits. This is what the rich are able to do constantly and consistently.

Paying yourself first is sound financial strategy
Wealth and financial success is the product of strategy. While strategy is a series of steps and actions that must be taken in order to receive the right results. The experts on wealth creation have used it to good effect in their journeys to wealth. You should not neglect to do the same.
The poor will definitely achieve the same results as the rich if they apply the same strategies the rich are using. Financial success is impartial. An application of the same winning strategies will lead to the same results for anyone.

Psychological Rewards
It’s easy to become frustrated with having nothing to show for time spent at a job or career. The process of keeping something aside leads to a positive mindset. This ensures that you’ll get something out at the end of the day. At least there’s something to show for your efforts.
Meeting your monthly or weekly savings goals can act as a boost to your morale. You get the feel good jolt of a job well done.

The final word on paying yourself first
In conclusion here are 7 further facts about paying yourself first:
1.      Whatever you save must be carefully invested to generate further returns. Check out my article on how to avoid scammers before investing here;
2.      Automate your savings. Instruct your bank to take out this money and move it to a separate account;
3.      Make it difficult to get your hands on these savings so it’s not diverted to other wasteful expenses;
4.      Money spent on expenses cannot be regained. It’s only money kept aside and invested that can provide you with returns and a future income;
5.      Always aim to invest the money as quickly as possible. Make plans on what to invest the money on in advance;
6.      Endeavour to keep some money aside for emergencies as well. An emergency fund is a good idea;
7.      Your expenses will always rise in an attempt to overtake income so you can spend more than you make. Do your best never to allow this to happen. That’s why it’s important to track your expenses.
Finally it’s time you got on the bandwagon of paying yourself first in order to secure a future income for yourself. Starting out and keeping at this will lead you to wealth and financial success sooner than later.

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 for more articles on money and personal finance. You can also sign up for moneytalkNG’s newsletter where Kenneth dispenses financial wisdom by clicking here to receive latest insights direct into your mailbox. A free book that will speed up your wealth building efforts also awaits you!


This is going to short and straight to the point.

Amazon is currently running a promo on my books for a few days. You can get my books for free during these promo days. Best to get it now before it is out of promo and back to its normal sales price of $10 each.

Power BI for the Busy Professional -- 

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Lastly, I am sharing new tips and content that will improve your business data analysis skills on YouTube, just subscribe to my channel to be in loop of all useful tips I share --

To your Excel-ling,
Michael Olafusi

P.S If you have gotten the books before or are able to get it during this promo period, please be kind to me and leave a review/rating on Amazon. Thanks.