Google Sheets is fast becoming the dominant spreadsheet tool on the web. A lot of that success is owed to its incredibly versatile nature and collaborative features. As the world is moving away from standard office environments and more toward working from home and hot-desking, these features are more important than ever.

Yet, that’s not all Google Sheets can offer your business. The nitty-gritty of any productivity suite is its functions. With spreadsheet programs that statement is quite literal. Join us as we dive into why you should use Google Sheets functions and some examples of the best ones for a productive business.

Why Use Google Sheets Functions?

There are so many functions in Google Sheets that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up before you even begin. But, almost all of these functions could contribute in one way or another to a successful business. Some examples of how they can help your business are:

  • Forecasting
  • Building budgets
  • Staffing
  • Logistics tracking
  • Calculating commissions

This is just a very short list of how simple functions can smooth the running of your company. Now, let’s take a look at a few of the functions you could use.

Google Sheets IF Functions

IF can be used on its own in Google Sheets. Yet, there are several different types of IF functions that work alongside other calculations such as AVERAGEIF and SUMIF.

The basic principle is that it calculates using only the cells that meet certain criteria. For example, you could use the IF function to determine if certain salespeople are owed a bonus or extra commission based on their sales.

Let’s say your company pays a 10% bonus on sales for employees that sell more than $1000 of your product a month. You could set up a spreadsheet with their sales numbers and calculate their bonus only IF they exceed the minimum sales.

Here’s how the formula I used above works:

=IF is the function
B2>1000 specifies the condition for the formula – “B2 is greater than 1000” (> is the “greater than” operator)
B2*0.1 is the calculation the formula should make if the condition is met (multiply it by 0.1)
0 is what to show if the condition isn’t met, this could also be a calculation if you wanted it to be—for example, if you offered a lower commission for poorly performing salespeople

This is of course just a simple example of what this powerful function can do. You could also learn how IF else Google Sheets formulas work for more complicated calculations.

Time Functions in Google Sheets

When you’re building budgets, forecasting, or anything else that needs a current time or date, there are a few different Google Sheets functions you can use to make the process much quicker.

One of these functions is the NOW() function all you have to do to use it is type NOW() into an empty cell and it will give you the exact time for when you used the function.

Just be aware that when you edit a spreadsheet that has the NOW() function in it, it will automatically update to the time you made the edit. But, you can turn this off by navigating to File > Spreadsheet Settings > Calculations.

Other examples of similar functions are:

  • TODAY()
  • DATE
  • DATEDIF

Familiarize yourself with all of these and you’ll breeze through any spreadsheets that need time stamps.

Using the SUBTOTAL Function in Google Sheets for Business

I’m sure you can think of hundreds of purposes for subtotals in your spreadsheets. And you might be thinking “Can’t I just use the SUM function?”

In some cases, you can.

But, the SUBTOTAL function allows you to add all the subtotals together across complex spreadsheets without having to include each data set. The bigger your spreadsheet gets, the harder it would be. This can often result in broken calculations, so using the SUBTOTAL function is a safer bet.

Boost Your Business

Google Sheets is not the only program you should use to make smart business decisions. But, it’s definitely one of the most powerful free tools you can get. It’s also one of the best to collaborate with.