5 Excel Tricks and Shortcuts That Every Accountant Should Know

Maintaining and working on spreadsheets is a necessity for every accounting professional, for which Microsoft Excel is among the most preferred software.

It not only maintains the data in an organized and structured form but also adds pace to calculations and deployment of special functions.


Image Credit: a1myob via Flickr

Accounting professionals spend a significant amount of time on Excel due to the number of operations that it can deliver. However, by learning some tricks and shortcuts of the tool, you can save some quality time and be more efficient.

Here are some of the Excel shortcuts that every accountant must know:

1. F2 -> Show Formula Reference

You can use Function key F2 to show the formula for the active cell. There are several reasons for which you need to look at the formula for the cell including suspecting the value displayed.

Now, using the mouse to switch to Formula tab and then enabling ‘Show Formulas’ can consume quite some effort as compared to a gentle pressing of F2 key on the keyboard.

Tip: If you want to enable or disable the display formulas for the entire worksheet in one go, you can use CTRL + Grave Accent (`) shortcut.

2. CTRL + H -> Find and Replace

Most accountants are aware of the shortcut to find in the worksheet, which is CTRL + F. Strangely, only a few are aware of shortcut to open Find and Replace window on the worksheet. CTRL + H is the shortcut used to find and replace a word, phrase, or numeric value.

When you are copying an entire worksheet to work on the same data type for a new client, Find and Replace is a very useful option as you can replace just the words that are different from the parent worksheet.

3. Shortcuts for Quick Navigation in Excel

From moving to different cells in the same worksheet to moving entirely to the different worksheet, Excel has a solution for all. Here are the solutions that you can use:

CTRL + HOME – Move to the first cell (A1) of the worksheet
CTRL + END – Move to the last used cell on the worksheet
CTRL + Page Up – Switch to the left worksheet
CTRL + Page Down – Switch to the right worksheet

With the quicker navigation shortcuts available, you can save time in going through data, especially when working on the lengthy worksheets, which is a common case for the accounting professionals.

Tip: By switching to the last used cell using CTRL + END, you can easily check for the empty rows and columns and get rid of them.

4. Shift + F2 -> Add or Edit A Cell Comment

While working collaboratively with a number of users or to remind oneself of something, comments in cells are an irreplaceable necessity with the software.

To get going faster with comments, you can use the shortcut Shift + F2 on the active cell. You can use this shortcut to add or edit the comment.

Tip: For a streamlined collaboration experience with different users, you can switch to cloud hosting of your spreadsheet software or office suite.

5. CTRL + Shift + Plus (+) -> Open the Insert Dialog

To insert a row, column, or cell in the worksheet, you can use the shortcut, CTRL + Shift + Plus (+). It will open the ‘Insert’ dialog box with the default selected checkbox for ‘Shift cells down.’ Other options that you can pick here are ‘Shift cell right,’ ‘Entire row’ and ‘Entire Column.’

Shortcuts are Essential!

The shortcuts are included in any software for the sole purpose of saving your time. The accountants and CPAs, especially, have a lot of tasks in their daily schedule that needs complete focus. Any help in the form of Excel shortcuts can enable them to optimize their process with productive results.

Moreover, it can help the accountants reduce mental stress as every function is carried out without much efforts.

Depending on the specific usage of Excel that you usually involve in, the shortcut that you may require can vary. We would like to hear from you about the keyboard shortcuts or other Excel tricks that you use to save time and maintain accounts with accuracy.

Post them in the comments below.

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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Comments (1)

  • Peter says:

    Thank you for sharing such amazing shortcuts. This will definitely save valuable time of accountants and make the working process easy and efficient!

  • Miley says:

    Great post Nishant! Other than these excel shortcuts you mentioned on the blog, I also use F7 for grammar check, Shift+F11 for opening new worksheet and, Ctrl+Shift+Enter for array formula. These shortcuts reduce my work effort to great extend.

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