MS Excel is perhaps the second most used productivity application after MS Word. Even when there is a significant number of fast, efficient and intelligent software solutions for handling various tasks in the human resource department, MS Excel is still the most preferred productivity app by human resource managers in small companies. It is an undeniable fact that MS Excel is hardly any match for these subscription-based or premium software solutions. These special purpose software solutions can automate almost all tasks while eliminating the possibility of human error. However, a business will have to fork out a decent amount of money in order to use these feature-packed software solutions.

This is the reason why many small and even medium-sized businesses resign to MS Excel. Though it has limited features when we compare it with paid software solutions, we can still say that it is an underrated tool for data analysis and reporting. It definitely has a place in the toolbox of an HR executive. Following are the genuine reasons for advocating the usability of MS Excel in a human resource department.


Unlike ERP, HRIS (Human Resource Information System), HR analytics and several other useful applications, it is free. The size of the organization never matters. On the other hand, you will have to pay more for premium software solutions if your company is a bigger one.

Easy to learn and easy to use

There is no end to the online information available about MS Excel. A small organization needs not spend anything on the training of the HR Executive working on MS Excel. There is a boatload of online resources such as YouTube videos, blogs and forums apart from Microsoft’s extensive online support and help system. When it comes to learning and using premium software solutions, the only resource available to you is the software user guide. The second thing you can rely on is the customer support. These software vendors do provide customer support and also publish articles and videos to help companies using their products. However, this support is coming from one source only. There is hardly any vendor providing support in regional languages.

Saves time and money

Unlike cloud-based enterprise application or an on-premises enterprise application, MS Excel does not take much time to install. Just purchase, download and install MS Excel and you are good to go.


From tracking simple data to merging data from more than one source, you can expect this versatile application to handle a lot more than what you are aware of. It comes with very useful features and functions for data analysis, producing graphs and charts and a lot more. This versatility makes MS Excel ideal for people from any background.

Shareable Information

There are some applications providing you with the facility you need to share data and information between people. MS Office is a very popular productivity application. It is installed on almost all computers running on Windows OS. Anyone can open and read an Excel file. You can also save and share Excel sheet or spreadsheet in PDF and a few other formats.

Useful Features

MS Excel is perhaps the only application having useful features for many professions. Finance, accounting, mathematics, date and time and there are many other functions that are used in different types of business. You can also expand the functionality of MS Excel. This tool allows you to define new functions. You can easily automate routine tasks. You can create password-protected PDF files, Word files and directories and a lot more.


You can find and download a decent number of free and paid MS Excel templates very useful for human resource department. There are many Excel professionals creating and uploading Excel templates on the web. In addition to saving your time and money, these MS Excel templates sometimes also help in learning new functionalities.

Data Analysis

Admitting the fact that MS Excel becomes sluggish when a large amount of data is added and analysed, this application can very easily handle smaller data sets. Staff at the human resource department can very easily generate reports. You can use it to generate charts and graphs. These graphs, charts and reports can be used for highlighting important information. Microsoft regularly updates Excel and every new version comes with new features and improvements in existing features. Creating professional-looking graphs and charts becomes a lot easier.

Data Conversion

When you need to move your human resource department data from your existing system to a new system, you can count on MS Excel. You can also convert data generated by an HRMS to MS Excel. HRMS often uses abbreviations and codes while storing data. You can simply replace abbreviations and codes with full words using the find and replace feature of MS Excel. You can also create and use a macro to automate these changes. Thanks to macro and other features, data conversion in MS Excel is quick and easy. With the help of MS Excel, you can very easily read the data an ERP or HRMS exports in CSV and TXT formats.

Minimum need for IT

HRMS, ERP and other software solutions have special software and hardware requirements. These software solutions demand more storage and processing power. MS Office is fairly flexible and lightweight suite. You can install it on any computer. An HR executive can perform the basic data analysis, reporting and other basic operations without relying on IT. Apart from reducing IT workload, this also saves the valuable time of the human resource department and the IT department of the organization.

Ability to limit features and functionalities

You can lock some fields in the sheet and restrict some users from editing. No unauthorized user can update and overwrite the fields that are locked. You can use macros to enable or disable some features in MS Excel.

In a nutshell, if you are running a small or medium sized business, MS Excel can very easily accommodate the needs of your human resource department. There is no need to invest in HRMS, ERP or any other software solution.

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