Ten Things to Consider Before Choosing a Portfolio Management Tool

portfolio management tool

Being part of a portfolio management department is a very challenging and responsible role. To make sure the projects in your portfolio are delivered on time, you need to find the most suitable approach, skillful resources and to know how to organize your time and time of other people in the team. As there are tools for every single business operation you can imagine, there are also tools for portfolio management.

In order to choose the right tool for your needs, you have to know your business well and have a clear picture of your technical and functional needs. Simply choosing a tool based on its features as listed and described by the company that produces it would not do you good. So, what questions should you have in mind when considering a portfolio management tool?

   1.   What is the quality/cost ratio of the tool?

Of course, no matter how big your budget is, you will always have in mind the price of the product you are buying. Cheaper tools usually aren’t of high quality, but don’t rush to buy the most expensive one as the price doesn’t guarantee the highest quality. What you need is to calculate the quality/cost ratio and compare it with your needs. Don’t forget to include software implementation and training costs in your total software cost.

     2. What is the average size of your projects?

This is also a very important question because the scope of the portfolio and the number of people involved in it can define the type of portfolio management tool you need. If your team is numerous, then you need to find a portfolio management tool designed for larger groups and projects. On the other hand, if you deal with smaller projects, you don’t need to spend so much money on more complex tools.

     3. How much time do you need to learn to use the tool?

Being aware of productivity risks that come with using a certain tool saves you from inconvenient situations. If you and your team need an extensive training in order to get comfortable with the tool, you can assume that you may be late with your projects. Before buying a portfolio management tool, make sure you know what technical skills are required to use it.

     4. Is the tool accurate?

Some tools are designed in a way that makes them incapable of handling uncertainty in data. They are developed with the principle of most-likely scenarios. If full accuracy is very important to you, check out if there are any ranking system parameters that can help you test the tool’s sensitivity and give you a better picture of how the portfolio changes under different scenarios. Being aware of risk sensitivity within each project of a portfolio will help you determine confidence levels across that portfolio.

     5. How adjustable is the tool?

Accessing tool adoption is important as your portfolio’s needs and plans may grow or change. You cannot know if every other project in your portfolio will be the same and if it will imply the same needs. That’s why you must check the flexibility of the tool you are considering, especially flexibility with the types of data you are using. That way you will be able to adjust your utility curves according to your preferences.

   6. What percent of the tool’s features will you actually use?

Every portfolio management tool has some common features, but as software producers want to attract customers, they all try to come up with a lot of different tool properties. The more features a tool has, the higher its price. So, be honest with yourself and think about what features you’ll actually use.

   7. Is performance tracking helpful enough?

As a portfolio manager, you probably want to track the performance of your project managers and other team members in order to deliver projects on time and stay on track with every aspect of each project. That’s why performance monitoring is so important and not all portfolio management tools have the same types of performance data collected.

   8. Do you need mobile access and is it available?

Over the past few years the use of mobile devices has radically increased, and if you or someone in your team feels it is necessary to have the tool accessible on a mobile device, don’t forget to check with the vendor if they have a mobile-ready version available.

   9. Does the vendor offer lifetime tech support?

No matter how well the tool is developed, technical problems may occur now or then. If you don’t want to have unpredicted costs, make sure the vendor whose software you are interested in offers lifetime tech support. At least you won’t need to worry about technical side of things.

10. How will it help you make better portfolio decisions?

Finally, think about how a particular tool will help you manage your portfolio in a more efficient and better way. You need software that can help you optimize your project portfolio, maximize the risk-adjusted value of the portfolio and help you create risk response plans. Investigate whether the tool can get you an objective view of the projects’ uncertainties and give you an insight into how much value will be created by your project portfolio and if the chosen projects can maximize that value.

To sum it up, in order to evaluate a tool’s decision model, you need to measure how effective, accurate and practical the tool is. You also need to estimate if it will be well accepted by your team and if it will help you in the decision-making process.

Although it may seem as if it will take you ages to consider all these questions, don’t lose hope that there’s software that is tailor-made for your needs. By finding answers to all these questions, you will find that perfect portfolio management tool.

Project Collaboration Tip – How to Retain All Comments from Your Source Documents

If you work in a team environment, you must know how hard it can be to collaborate with your team workers. It doesn’t matter if it is a big or a small team, and how well you get along with your colleagues, it is necessary to set up some project collaboration rules in order to manage your projects efficiently.

Since there are different types or work, there are different types of project collaboration, but almost every single project is closely related to some kind of document management. Each team member is usually assigned his or her own part of the project, so one should expect no problems when it comes to data overlapping. But, as a project is coming to its close, all parts of the project need to be exchanged for evaluation or just connected as a whole.

When evaluating your colleagues’ work, it may happen that you cannot follow what a colleague has done thus far and you need an explanation. Luckily, MS Office applications have the option to leave comments, so if you’re working in MS Office, you’ll be able to see your colleague’s explanation and comments in a Word document or in a specific row of an Excel spreadsheet. That can be very useful if many people work on the same document.

project collaboration

However, the problem arises when you need to send that MS Office document in a PDF form. It may happen that your comments from the source document won’t save in PDF. This depends on the PDF creation tool you use. With PDF Converter Elite, for example, you can create PDF files and at the same time retain comments from the source documents.


Here’s how you can use this team collaboration tip in your next project:

Open PDF Converter Elite and click on the View tab. On the drop-down menu you will find PDF Creation Options. When you click on it, a window will pop up as shown in the image below:


As you can see, you need to click on the tab MS Office and tick the boxes of the options you want to apply. In this case, you will tick Retain Comments from Source Document. If you want to make this option default, just click Save as Default button. If not, just click OK, and open an MS Office file you want to print to PDF.


On top of that, you can choose not to apply those settings to all documents, but only to a specific sheet. That may come in handy in a situation when you have financial reports with a lot of sheets and old data, and you don’t want your current team members to have access to communication with your previous co-workers or to old projects data.


If you haven’t previously installed PDF Converter Elite, you can do so here: http://www.pdfconverter.com/downloads/


So there it is, one document management tip that can make your project collaboration go flawlessly. That surely helps with the technical part of team collaboration. As far as better communication with your co-workers is concerned, no one has invented a tool for that yet, but it would be awesome, wouldn’t it?


And do you have any interesting project collaboration tips? Please share your experiences in the comments below.





Learn Excel by Yourself: Tips, Resources, Tutorials

We can trace Microsoft Office to the beginnings of the digital age. And it has grown since then. In the past, being skillful with MS Office programs was considered an advantage and today it is compulsory to know at least the basics.

MS Excel is certainly one of the most used MS Office formats. Because of its popularity, there are tons of Excel resources on the Internet which makes searching for helpful material very time-consuming and your effort to learn Excel even harder. But don’t give up before you have started. It is just a matter of patience and time before you realize that you’re using Excel in everyday and business operations. To do so, you just need to know what to look for and where.

excel chart

Excel Tips – Solutions to Specific Excel Problems or Tasks

If you already know how to use Excel but you are looking for specific Excel tips, these are some of the blogs that give you the best insight into what you need.

My Online Training Hub is a treasure trove of free Excel tips and tutorials on all topics from Formulas, PivotTables, charting and dashboards.

Contextures explains how to copy numbers only in Excel, how to make an interactive dashboard chart in a drop-down list or how to compare Excel worksheet values and formulas.

The Spreadsheet Guru has a wide range of Excel tips, from basic things on how to password protect your Excel file to very advanced VBA Excel functions. Here you can learn how to make your own functions or add-ins with VBA and totally extend the Excel functionality.

Clearly and Simply explains difficult things the easy way. It helps you with data visualization and data analysis by showing you how to present data in Excel. For instance, it shows you how to create Excel choropleth maps, motion charts, animated charts like gapminder, or how to make cartograms in Tableau.

Chandoo is a true gem when speaking of advanced Excel tips. If you want to become an Excel pro, this is the right place. You can learn to apply conditional formatting, perform better data analysis by making pivot tables, write and debug advanced formulas etc.

Excel y VBA is a Spanish blog for Excel users of all levels. It provides you with Excel and VBA exercises and different functions examples. It also provides good tips on how to learn to use Excel for data analysis.

Peltier Tech gives you very detailed explanations to every explicit question, providing you at the same time with a great number of screenshots. Although it can be hard to make waterfall charts in Excel or to set up error bars, you just need to follow the instructions and you cannot fail.

Excel Tutorials – Visual and Interactive Ways to Learn Excel

If you are among those learners who would rather listen to someone than just read the instructions by themselves, you should check out Youtube channels of Excel professionals. Video tutorials are definitely more interactive and visually appealing. However, if you learn better with visually presented materials but you cannot concentrate on someone’s speeches, you may try to follow tutorials.

Excel is Fun Youtube channel is probably the largest storage of Excel video tutorials. It has a huge number of playlists sorted out in categories. Every playlist has far more videos with detailed audio and video instructions. Every video can be downloaded and the channel is being updated all the time. There are how-to-guides for Excel beginners as well as for Excel professionals. You can learn Excel payroll and time tricks, Excel database tricks, sumproduct functions tutorials, Excel array formulas, PowerPivot basics and so on.

Tom’s Tutorials for Excel haven’t been updated recently but you can still have some use of his old tutorials. If you want to know how to find the number closest to zero in Excel, how to copy your page setup to multiple worksheets, how to transpose a dynamic list from horizontal to vertical and much more, dig through these Excel tutorials.

Excel Guru gives you tutorials on how to list outstanding cheques, how to calculate hours worked, and a lot of Power Query guides on data analysis. Tutorials are described in a very detailed and simple manner, and there are a lot of graphics following the text which help you understand even better what it is about.

Excel Exposure helps you improve your Excel skills. It is a kind of a free training provided by University of Reddit. There are both video and textual lessons about formula editing, data monitoring, advanced pivot tables and so much more.

Excel TV is another great Youtube channel for learning Excel. It has quite a different approach from other Excel channels. You can listen to interviews with Excel experts, Excel industry news, and different discussions, but there are Excel tutorials as well (how to automatically insert cells, for example), etc.

Exploring Excel is one more channel on Youtube that shares useful tutorials on Excel. Apart from regular Excel tutorials, here you can find Excel VBA guides on how to make bigger size fonts, how to delete blank row utility or highlight your comments.

Excel Easy offers free and fully illustrated Excel tutorials, from basic to advanced levels, including VBA programming. It also gives you 300 easy examples which can help you master your Excel skills very quickly.

VBAExpress offers free VBA help as well as Excel webinars. Apart from numerous training videos on Excel and VBA forum where you can find answers to your questions, it also has a wide range of paid and more professional training and consulting programs.

Jan Karel Pieterse offers many insightful articles explaining things about Excel and VBA. Make sure you check out his download page for some excellent (free) add-ins for Excel!


Learn Excel Through Games

Maybe the best way to learn Excel is through games. It’s fun and more interesting. Okay, you cannot become an Excel professional if you just play Excel games, but it is a good start, especially for younger learners and for beginners. So, here are some useful games that can improve your basic Excel skills.

Excel Hero will help you master your Excel shortcuts knowledge. It’s a simple game where you type keyboard shortcuts that correspond to given Excel commands.

Excel Hurdles is one more game that challenges your Excel shortcuts skills. Not only does it show how many shortcuts you know, but it also helps you practise your keyboard typing speed.

Game Creation in Excel is actually a Youtube tutorial on how to create a simple game in Excel and lets you practice conditional formatting, resizing cells, formatting text and so on.

Battleship Excel Game is a well-known game made in Excel. You already know how to play the battleship game and doing that in Excel will help you learn the basics of Excel.

Excel Treasure Hunt Game is a good way to have fun, especially with your children, but as you adjust the game, you also practise conditional formatting, data validation and count and sum functions.

Excel Resources – Lists of Excel Websites and Blogs That Are the Most Popular

Those enthusiasts who have time to do a more thorough research on different approaches to learning Excel, they should look for Excel resources. They will find website pages with lists of different Excel learning websites. It’s good to have all of them stored in one place, you never know when you might need one of them. Here are the best organized lists:

LT Techno Spreadsheet Resources provides you with Microsoft lessons on Excel, spreadsheet usage ideas for elementary, middle school and high school students, spreadsheet tutorials and general data resources.

SkilledUp offers 133 best Excel resources starting from tutorial websites, blogs, Youtube channels, Excel reference guides and much more.

Rick Grantham has a list of Excel forums and chat boards, Excel resources in different languages, VBA and PowerPivot sites.

Excel-lent resources is a powerful list of Excel tutorials, lessons plans, Excel troubleshooting sites and site where you can find free Excel templates.

Must-Have Tools for Writing a Research Paper

research paper

One way or another, all students need to write a research paper. Choosing the topic is the easiest part but when it comes to putting that topic on paper, it becomes tricky. From doing research and making notes, through literature management and team evaluation, to writing the thesis statement and headline, and finally checking grammar and spelling, it’s easy to conclude that it takes much time and effort to wrap up a research paper. Luckily, there are tons of tools that can help you out, so let’s get started:

I Research Tools

Research is the most important part of every research paper. It implies a lot of creativity and consistency. There is no tool that can do the research for you, but at least some of them can help you save time and better organize the materials and information you come across. Internet libraries such as World Digital Library or ipl2 are historical databases with a lot of knowledge treasure you can find. Once you’ve found everything you need to start writing, it’s wise to have Evernote to organize your collection.


II Evaluation and Preparation Tools

Okay, you found everything you need, so now it’s time to sort things out and see what can be used and how. Mendeley is a good reference management program for managing your literature. It makes every literature review process easier and your research more organized. Once you have sorted out your literature collection and organized your data, the next step is evaluation. For this you need team collaboration tools, because you need to get feedback from someone else, your college peer or a professor. There are really tons of such tools but Dropbox is maybe the most reliable. Dropbox keeps your research paper safe and at the same time easily accessible to other people you want to get involved in the evaluation. Sometimes you will have to make historical charts, statistical tables or any other form of data that implies using spreadsheets. In that case, Microsoft Excel is the number one choice. There is no better tool than MS Excel for organizing data, but if you prefer to put your data in the cloud, you can use Google Sheets and still do excellent work.


III Writing Tools

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Flashback into the 80’s Office



“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

If you remember this quote and its author then, you’re most likely an 80’s fan. The epic“ Wall Street” movie and Michael Douglas’s Oscar-winning role of Gordon Gekko, a greedy Wall Street con artist distinctively portrays the office environment and business style of the well-known decade.

The era of emerging technologies, first yuppies and spectacular financial frauds has, for better or worse, left a huge impact in history and a nostalgic sentiment in our hearts.

In the last few years, several movies following the same thematic have been released causing many of us reminisce about this time. The first thing that rings a bell is the 80’s corporate fashion which was so over the top – fluffy hairdos, suits with shoulder pads and suspenders as a must have men’s accessory. From today’s perspective, it is safe to say that 80’s may have gone but they’re certainly not forgotten. When it comes to generating new ideas and competing in creativity across industries, this retro epoch is often used as an inspiration.

For now, let’s stay on technology path and take a look at what has really changed.

Probably the most popular item in the 80’s business world was the brick phone. The first portable cellular phone, known as “the brick” was Motorola DynaTAC, a revolutionary and statement-making accessory.  At time when most people talked via landline telephones, owning this bulky device was a trait that separated business sharks from other fish in the pond. Now, 30 years later, with smartphone technology advancing each day one would consider a brick phone a toy or a collector’s item. Well, UK’s Binatone is obviously taking it seriously since they produce their own “Meet the Brick” and let you travel back in time -80’s style.


Another great accessory from the 80’s was the well-known Casio calculator watch. As its name says, it was basically a digital watch with a built-in calculator. Everyone used to wear it, from academics to musicians. Aspiring businessmen preferred more advanced models that had additional functions such as phonebook and appointment reminder. The frenzy about this watch was very similar to the one about Apple Watch we are experiencing today. You can still find it on Amazon and Ebay or if you already own an Apple Watch or any other iOS device, you can download Geek Retro Calculator Watch application and  have the best of both worlds.


First Apple’s personal computer Macintosh 128k that appeared in the 80’s was considered a milestone in the success of the Apple brand as we know it today. However, at that time the competition was strong since Commodore 64 was already a big hit among offices around the world as well as Epson’s first notebook and handheld computer which had advanced features and could perform intricate operations for that time. Epson HX-20 was in fact, the closest to what MacBook stands for today.


80’s business affairs were all about flamboyance and making a statement to impress the other party. Probably the best scene that captivates this is from another awesome movie called “American Psycho” where Patrick Bateman and his co-workers are fighting the “silent war” over who has the best designed business card. Believe it or not, business cards were extremely important part of business etiquette and could tell a lot about person’s status and success. Today, with social networks such as LinkedIn, you don’t have to go so deep into presenting yourself to potential associates.


What is your favorite 80’s gadget and what do you think were the quirks of that time?






PDF Converter Elite 4 has been Released- Find out What’s in Store for You!

PDFConverter.com is excited to announce the latest version of PDF Converter Elite. We have just released PDF Converter Elite 4, an all-in-one tool for PDF conversion and creation. With our vision in mind to provide the software appropriate for both business and personal usage, we tried to keep its simplicity and user-friendly layout, whilst improving the most used functionalities, as well as adding new and valuable features.


Here is a sneak peek of our latest improvements:

New PDF to AutoCAD Conversion

PDF to AutoCAD is a conversion feature that you will not find in every PDF conversion tool on the market. We know how popular AutoCAD is and we provided something that will definitely come in handy when you need to recover your old PDF drawings.pdf-to-autocad

Custom-built PDF to Excel Conversion

Convert PDF to Excel in a totally different way. Set custom settings and get personalized results. This new feature will allow you to have complete control over your spreadsheets. You can modify tabular data and preview your result before the actual conversion. On top of that, you can save those settings as a template for future use.

New Conversion Technology

We know that quality comes first, so we pay special attention to it. In version 4, we use a new conversion algorithm and fully rebuilt conversion technology. You will see the difference in output quality. Faster and more accurate results is what you can expect!

Better OCR Conversion

Scanned PDF conversion feature has become even better. With the latest OCR technology, PDF Converter Elite 4 helps you extract text from a scanned (image) PDF document. It enables you to revise and re-purpose your documents in various file formats.

With the same price – $99.95 and the 7-day free-trial policy, there is no reason why shouldn’t you check out PDF Converter Elite 4 and test its latest improvements.

Download PDF Converter here: http://www.pdfconverter.com/downloads/


Top 7 Inspirational Business Quotes

We have all heard the saying “words have power”. Nowadays, we rely on technology to help us get through our work day, forgetting that sometimes all we need is a few inspirational words.

aristotle quote

“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”  Aristotle

audrey hepbern quote

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!”  Audrey Hepburn

motivational quote

“Those who can say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.” Chinese Proverb Continue reading >>

How to Translate PDF in Microsoft Word 2013

translate pdf

Regardless of what you use PDF documents for, globalization will eventually put you in a situation where you will need to translate a PDF document into a foreign language. It may be a manual or a brochure written in a foreign language that you don’t understand, or perhaps you’ll need to translate a user guide to send to an international customer. Either way, you will want to translate your PDF document into another language without much effort. At first thought, it may seem like mission impossible but it can actually be very easily achieved. Assuming you use MS Word 2013, you can translate your PDF in Word with the following steps:

1. Right-click on your PDF file, choose to “Open with” MS Word 2013.

Open with Word

Or, open a PDF you want to translate directly from MS Word. Go to the tab File Open and choose the PDF saved on your computer, OneDrive or another place.

Open from Word

2. When you open a PDF file in MS Word 2013, go to the tab Review and choose the Translate option.

Translate document

3. In the Translator Language Options Dialog, select document translation languages (in the image below, we chose to select document from English to French). However, as you will see for yourself, the list of available languages for translation is quite extensive. Click OK.
4. In order to translate your document, Microsoft Office will send your document to its translator service over the Internet in an unsecured format. If you are OK with this, click the button Send to complete the translation (see image below).

Open in web browser

Your translated document will be shown in your default web browser.

If you want to translate just a part of the whole PDF, like a sentence or a paragraph choose Translate Selected Text option in the Step 2. You could also turn on the Mini Translator which gives you an instant translation of a chosen section.

As you may have concluded from this simple guide to translating PDFs in MS Word, you need an Internet connection to complete document translation.

The History of Cloud Accounting

Cloud computing and its benefits are already widely recognized and embraced. This infographic takes you back to the beginnings of cloud accounting. Learn how accounting found its spot in the clouds, and go through its evolution path.

The History of Cloud Accounting

Whether you are a CPA or a small business owner, be sure to stay tuned to what the future of cloud accounting will bring and to take into account the many advantages it has for improving your business.

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6 Ways You Can Use Internet to Spice up Your Statistics Course

Back in the old days, statistics was considered a political science and used to describe government and political arrangements of states. Today, statistics is best known as the science of learning from data. It deals with data collection, analysis, organization, presentation and interpretation. It is applied to many different fields such as medicine, biology, astronomy, engineering, economy, marketing…etc.

Let’s face it, this sounds like a typical introduction found in almost every statistics course book or newbie learning guide. Most teachers will approve of such introduction. It offers clear facts on the meaning and importance of the subject. There is just one minor glitch. Odds are that most students will find this introduction boring. The probability of their falling in love with statistics after such introduction is very low. Of course, this is just a hypothesis, so feel free to experiment.




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