A spreadsheet on paper is a table of rows and columns generally used in accounting. An electronic spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel, is a table of rows and columns that can contain data items or formulas, and is stored as a computer document. The data items can be numbers, words, paragraphs, dates, money values and number formulas among other things. The power of an electronic spreadsheet is its ability to calculate, manipulate and display data based on entries in the table.
Without having a specialized computer accounting package, knowing how to use a spreadsheet is very important for managing your business. Being able to set up and understand a spreadsheet will help in predicting likely financial outcomes. You may be able to better forecast possible increases or decreases in your expenses or income, based on what you know now. But a spreadsheet is also used for the general analysis of data, including scientific results from experiments, statistical analysis, and of course, analyzing various financial models.