The primary objective of an accounting system is to “summarize transactional data into useful management reports that management can use to manage the business” (Kieso et al., 2006). A powerful vehicle that helps us to achieve this objective is the Microsoft® Excel PivotTable. It provides us a powerful tool to organize and summarize data, and display the output in different views. Displaying summarized data in different views allows us to make comparisons, explore relationships, and identify trends, i.e., convert data into information.

The purpose of this paper is two fold; one is to demonstrate the ease of creating a PivotTable report, and the other, to illustrate its essential features, i.e., the use of PivotTable to count frequency, perform calculations, sort data, group data, collapse/expand data, and filter data. Instructors teaching accounting information systems or computerized accounting may spend a session on PivotTable.

This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.

Jim Chen, Ph.D., Norfolk State University

Read Business Data Analysis With PivotTables.