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Excel 2003: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 9. Financial Functions

Calculating cosines and analyzing statistical trends may seem like a great way to tap Excel’s brainpower. But what if you want help tracking the movement of small pieces of green paper from one bank account to another? Fortunately, Excel’s no slouch when it comes to dealing with money. In fact, it comes with a slew of financial functions that can help you figure out the bottom line like a pro.

The majority of Excel’s financial functions are designed to help you determine how numbers change over time. For example, you can use them to track soaring assets or mounting debts. You’ll find all of Excel’s financial functions in the Financial category, which you can browse using the Insert Function dialog box (Insert Function). Excel starts off with only 16 of these functions, although the count rises to over 50 when you switch on the Analysis ToolPak add-in (Section 7.2.4).

In this chapter, you’ll start by learning the basic concepts, such as present value and payment period, which Excel bases all of its financial functions on. Afterwards, you’ll take a close look at some of the most useful financial functions, complete with examples that answer common questions about mortgages, loans, and investments.

The World of Finance

Before you start using Excel’s financial functions, it helps to understand the financial concepts that lie at the heart of many of these operations. Here are some terms that those wacky accountants love to use:

  • Present Value (PV). The ...

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