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In this post I have collected a handful of techniques for working with data in Excel: looking up values in tables, matching text or numbers in the lists and extracting corresponding values from neighboring columns, querying specific data, aggregating the amounts based on a certain condition or a number of criteria, making lists and summaries, doing statistical analysis based on these criteria, etc.
From a financial modeling standpoint, these techniques will help collect and analyze data at the due diligence stage (I am giving a practical example of how to make an extract from somewhat a messy accounting system of a fictitious investment target). If you are an in-house accountant or analyst, the methods I am going to describe will help you make even the existing system more informative and analytical with no additional resources (I will give an example on this too).
I have tied my examples to the automotive industry (in which I have spent quite some years). But these examples are very generic and flexible and can certainly be adjusted to any other industry or specific analytical requirements.