September 06, 2023

EXCELerating CFO — Wait, Maybe There is Something Chat GPT Can Help Us With


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By Joey Hodges, MBA

AcceleratingCFO Consultant

Last time, I wrote that using ChatGPT to write Excel formulas was difficult and suggested using Google to find formula examples that could be adapted for your project. I’m not retracting that viewpoint; however, I have found a way to use ChatGPT in my Excel work.  

As wonderful and indispensable as Google search is, we all know it has its ‘issues’.  Sometimes I need a straightforward explanation on how to use a function. Of course, my first place to look is a Google search. After scrolling a few pages and reading posts that don’t really answer my question, 30 minutes later (make it 45 if I go down a rabbit hole clicking links that have nothing to do with my project), I give up and go over to Microsoft.

With Microsoft, I often find several Microsoft support articles; and after reading a few of them, I still don’t have a good answer to my question. 

So what’s next? ChatGPT. I have found that after a few tries, ChatGPT will describe the function, how it is used, and provide an example. Let’s ask ChatGPT how to use the Excel function for compounding interest. This is one function I have trouble with because I always forget that the invested amount is supposed to be negative and can’t remember the order of the formula operators.

Here’s my question: “Please simply explain how to use the Excel future value function with an example”. Yes, I say please to ChatGPT. I find that by using ‘simply’ in the request, I get a response that is more readable and less techy.  Here is ChatGPT’s output below. (I can easily understand ChatGPT’s output — and I don’t go down the cat video rabbit hole.)


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