Financial analysis is an essential task for any business. It involves studying financial information and using insights to make decisions that drive forward profitability and growth. It commonly utilizes data from financial reports as well as economic and market trends to analyze performance.

Excel pivot tables offer an efficient and reliable way to analyze large data sets stored in spreadsheets, such as those associated with financial information. A pivot table is a tool that allows a user to reorganize and summarize selected columns and rows of data in a spreadsheet or database table. It can also be used to calculate sums, counts, averages, and other types of calculations.

Benefits of Leveraging Excel Pivot Tables for Financial Analysis

Excel Pivot Tables are an important tool to simplify financial analysis. Their usage provides numerous benefits for financial analysis and decision making.

Easily Compare Data

A Pivot Table allows users to quickly compare related data from different sources. This data can easily be crossed referenced, allowing users to better understand the differences between particular sets of variables. This type of comparison makes understanding the big picture easier and provides more accurate results.

Structured Display of Data

Pivot Tables can present data in a clear, easy to read visual format. By summarizing the data in a grid, users can simply discern correlations, trends and outliers without needing to sort through mountains of information. This display makes interpreting data simpler and more accurate.

Simplified Calculations

Excel’s Pivot Tables make complex calculations easier and faster. The user can simply drag and drop fields to organize data and instantly calculate results. Depending on the user’s chosen settings, the Pivot Table can also automatically update data when changes are made without the user needing to recalculate the entire table.

Versatile Reporting

Pivot Tables can easily create reports that provide customized, dynamic information. Through their filters, users can customize the report type and parameters to show more specific data. Different report types, such as charts and tables, can be used to quickly view different perspectives of financial data.

Getting Started with Excel Pivot Tables

An Excel Pivot Table is a great tool for performing financial analysis quickly and efficiently. With just a few clicks, an Excel Pivot Table can reveal complex insights about an organization's financial performance. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions for creating Excel Pivot Tables and working with multiple data sets.

Step-by-step instructions

Creating Excel Pivot Tables is fairly simple, if you know the basic steps:

  • Open a new Excel spreadsheet and enter the data you wish to analyze – the columns should contain all of the data fields you will analyze, such as revenue and expenses.
  • Next, highlight all of the cells containing data and, from the Insert menu, select Pivot Table.
  • The Pivot Table Field List will display on the right, allowing you to select which fields you wish to use in your analysis.
  • From the Field List, drag the fields you wish to analyze into the boxes labeled “Rows”, “Columns”, and “Values”.
  • Now the pivot table appears and is ready for further analysis.

Working with multiple data sets

Often, you may need to work with multiple data sets, such as comparing year-over-year financial performance or running detailed analyses with regional breakdowns or accounting codes. To combine multiple data sets for analysis in an Excel Pivot Table, use the following steps:

  • Create an Excel spreadsheet, with each data set on a separate sheet and all sheets sharing the same formatting and field labels.
  • Select all of the data, including the sheet headers.
  • From the Insert menu, select Pivot Table. A dialog box will open, allowing you to select which data sets you wish to analyze.
  • Select the data sets you want to include and click OK.
  • The Pivot Table Field List will display on the right, allowing you to select which fields you wish to use in your analysis.
  • From the Field List, drag the fields you wish to analyze into the boxes labeled “Rows”, “Columns”, and “Values”.
  • Now the pivot table appears and is ready for further analysis.

Creating Analyses with Excel Pivot Tables

Excel Pivot Tables provide an excellent way for analysts to quickly organize, analyze, and interpret large datasets. Pivot Tables offer a variety of analysis types and several powerful ways to filter and transform data to provide insight and make better-informed decisions. This section will cover best practices when creating analyses with Excel's Pivot Tables.

Changing Analysis Type

When creating a Pivot Table, you will be prompted to choose a type of analysis to perform. Depending on your data and desired outcome, you can choose from various analysis types such as sum, count, or average. Always keep in mind the type of analysis you need to conduct, as different analyses will provide alternative output. It is not possible to change the type of analysis after the Pivot Table has been created. Instead, you must delete the original table and create a new one with the appropriate type of analysis.

Adding or Removing Data Fields

Once the type of analysis has been selected, you can choose to add or remove data fields from the existing pivot table. Adding fields will enable you to customize the Pivot Table with additional data and provide more insights into the data set. On the other hand, removing data fields can help simplify and streamline the analysis output, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. It is important to note that changes made to a Pivot Table's data fields will affect all aspects of the analysis, including the type of analysis and output.

Filtering Data

The ability to filter data is one of the most powerful features of Excel Pivot Tables. Excel's Pivot Table feature allows users to quickly and easily filter the data to isolate only the necessary information. There are several ways to filter data, including date range, text-based filters, value filters, and other criteria. Applying filters will help simplify the analysis and make it easier to identify relationships and patterns within the data set.

Excel Pivot Tables provide analysts with a powerful tool to quickly and efficiently analyze and interpret large data sets. Knowing how to apply the best practices when creating analyses with Excel Pivot Tables can ultimately save time and provide better insights into the data at hand.

Sharing Excel Pivot Table Analysis

When it comes to financial analysis, getting the results of your analysis from Excel to a larger audience quickly and easily is a must. Excel pivot tables are no different and provide users with the ability to share their work through various methods like saving and exporting data or even creating a dynamic, web-based representation of their data.

Saving and Exporting Data

When it comes to Excel pivot tables, users have the ability to save and export their analysis in multiple formats. This includes but is not limited to CSV, PDF and HTML. Excel pivot tables also allow users to save as an Excel file, providing a way to maintain the integrity of formatting and layout, but also allowing the flexibility to share with a larger audience who may not have access to all of the same Excel features.

Sharing Data as a Webpage

In addition to saving and exporting data, Excel pivot tables can also be used to create a dynamic, web-based representation of the analysis. By combining the results of their financial analysis with a library of web codes, users can create a webpage that dynamically refreshes with the most up-to-date information from the pivot table. This gives users the ability to share their analysis with a larger audience, maintain the formatting and layout of their data, and keep their analysis up-to-date as new information is gathered over time.

  • Users can save their data as in multiple formats like CSV, PDF and HTML
  • Web-based representation of the analysis can be created by combining the results of their financial analysis with a library of web codes
  • Dynamic, web-based representation refreshes itself with the most up-to-date information from the pivot table

Improving Accuracy of Financial Analysis with Excel Pivot Tables

Pivot tables are one of the most powerful tools for financial analysts, allowing them to quickly summarize, analyze, and discover new insights from their data. But simply using pivot tables can leave some steps in financial analysis prone to errors. To ensure accuracy and get the most out of pivot tables, financial analysts can incorporate some advanced techniques.

Advanced Formulas

Formulas such as SUMIFS and COUNTIFS can be used to add more value to pivot tables. These formulas can be utilized to filter the data either before or after tables are made, and can make financial analysis more efficient and accurate. SUMIFS and COUNTIFS can help analysts filter data based on multiple criteria and summarize the relevant data quickly and easily.

Automating Processes

Creating financial models with hard-coded data can be tedious and prone to errors. Fortunately, pivot tables can be used to solve this issue. Analysts can link their data sources to the pivot table and save time by automating the process of refreshing the data. Analysts can also add triggers to pivot tables and further automate the process.

Refreshing Pivot Tables

In the world of financial analysis, data is constantly changing and analysts need information quickly. To help with this process, pivot tables can be set to automatically refresh when their data sources update. This can save analysts a significant amount of time and enhance the accuracy and reliability of their analysis.

By leveraging advanced formulas, automating processes and refreshing pivot tables, financial analysts can get the most out of their data and greatly improve the accuracy of their financial analysis.


The capability of a pivot table to aggregate and summarize data is powerful and can be a useful tool in financial analysis. With their flexibility and customizability, pivot tables can provide financial professionals with the ability to quickly organize, analyze and report data, allowing them to make better decisions and develop insider insights that can benefit their business.

Summary of Benefits

Pivot tables offer a range of benefits for financial analysis, including:

  • Easy organization and navigation of the data
  • Powerful data summarization
  • Interactive filtering and sorting capabilities
  • Quick calculations and charting
  • Ability to combine data from multiple sources

Advice for Readers

Financial professionals should take some time to become familiar with the features of pivot tables. Familiarity with more advanced functions and capabilities can further increase the speed, agility and accuracy of financial analysis. Additionally, when working with large data sets, it is a good idea to break down the data into smaller groups to ensure that pivot tables run efficiently.

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