2017 Excel University Scholarship Winners

I am thrilled to announce this year’s Excel University scholarship winners! These scholarships are supported by Excel University enrollments, so thanks to all of you who have helped make these awards possible!

Both of our winners this year are great examples of the type of accounting student that the scholarship program was designed to assist. They are smart (amazing GPAs), hard-working, and strongly recommended by their professors. They both have incredible accounting careers ahead of them.

Congratulations to the 2017 Excel University Scholarship winners, Bradley Paynter and Kati Uttz!

As part of the scholarship application, I asked for a short essay “Interesting Ways I’ve Used Excel.” I’d like to share both essays with you, and give you more information about each scholarship recipient.


Bradley Paynter: University of Cumberlands

Brad majored in Accounting and minored in Management Information Systems.

He held an internship at Rollins in Atlanta, where he gained valuable experience. As an intern, he was able to build an Excel workbook that improved the company’s efficiency and accuracy…now that’s what I’m talking about 🙂

Brad’s professor is impressed with his performance and work ethic. Brad is honest and sincere, and conducts himself in an ethical and respectful manner. She adds that he plans to become a CPA, and that he’ll make an outstanding professional accountant.

Congratulations Brad!



Interesting Ways I’ve Used Microsoft Excel, by Bradley Paynter

This summer I had the opportunity of a lifetime and to intern with a company not many people get the chance to. This company is Rollins Inc. and they are the parent company of Orkin. They are a 1.5 billion dollar company, and I was hired on the work directly under the Controller.

At Rollins, I had the opportunity to have a long-term project to test my analysis skills, and then I also had the chance to shadow different managers in our department to see if I think anything should be changed. My long-term project included analysis of their revenue, FICO scores, profit and losses, and many more items. I used excel for all of this and became a master of pivot tables.

My most accomplished moment actually came after I shadowed the Credit manager and one of his employees. They receive phone calls and then either approve a customer based on their FICO scores. However, it amazed me they still use calculators to calculate the finance charge. We have different interest rates in different states and customers have the option of a 90-days same-as-cash option. With all of these different variables, there is a lot of room for human error. I went out of my way to make a Finance Charge Calculator which does all of the work for them. They simply input the amount of the loan, select the state, select if it is SAC, and how long the term is. It then gives out all data which includes monthly payments, total payments, and the finance charge. I showed this to the credit team the next day and they actually implemented it as a requirement to use. They told me it is the first time an intern has ever done something like that, and it made me very proud to help eliminate their errors by using such a great program.

I also use excel in my classes and work daily. In my life, I use excel for many personal things. Recently, I made a spreadsheet with my books for Fall 2016 with the ISBN, rental date, the price, and the return date. I also make a spreadsheet each semester which includes my class code, class name, time of class, and room number. I believe excel can help many people in life, and I know it has helped me out a ton thus far. I look forward to using excel the rest of my life in my Accounting career.


Kati Uttz: University of Memphis

Kati is an accounting major at the University of Memphis.

Her professor says she is an exceptional student who strives for excellence in all she does. Not only is she in the honors program, she is clearly an honorable individual and displays a high degree of leadership and integrity. Plus, she was the top student in Managerial Accounting Principles II…way to go Kati 🙂

Besides her perfect GPA, I was impressed by the the many honors she has received as well as her community involvement, plus, she is already a member of the AICPA. She is clearly ready and able to achieve any goal she sets for herself.

Congratulations Kati!



Interesting Ways I’ve Used Excel, by Kati Uttz

What comes to your mind when you hear the word Excel? If asked this question, many of my co-workers and classmates would sigh while their minds filled with memories of long reports or class assignments. In all honesty, I probably would’ve done the same thing; at least, before I knew the greater capabilities of the program. After taking a couple classes on excel and exploring a few of the thousands of available templates, I was amazed at how handy Excel could truly be. Who knew that Microsoft offered templates for creating a budget, filling out a calendar, and estimating gas mileage? The world of possibilities blew my mind. Why had I never thought to use Excel for projects like these? Despite being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of templates, I stumbled upon one in particular that caught my eye: a ‘weight-loss tracker.’

Throughout my young adult life, I had always been a hefty individual. At a height of five foot ten and a weight of 220 pounds, I knew I was larger than the average girl. Though my family continuously encouraged me to adopt better eating habits, I needed to make the decision to get serious about weight loss. But, I didn’t take it seriously. Instead, I kept living the same unhealthy lifestyle. I ignored any comment that was geared towards my weight. It wasn’t until I had a routine check-up at my pediatrician that a loud wake-up call rang through my ears. The nurse took my blood pressure and the reading came in at 150. “No, that can’t be right,” I thought to myself. “Me? Hypertensive? But I’m so young…” I pondered. In that moment, I was terrified. I didn’t want to start taking blood pressure medicine. I was only eighteen years old! The realization began to sink it. I finally had the motivation I needed. That was the day my life was forever changed.

From then onward, I used Excel as a key tool for managing my fitness progress. The first spreadsheet I used was a weight-loss chart, which allowed me to set a goal weight and monitor my progress. Each week, I would weigh myself on the scale and record my result on the spreadsheet. Then, I decided to go even further by starting a diet/exercise journal. I found an excel-lent template that made this project a breeze. With this spreadsheet, I could set exercise goals, keep a food diary, and have a running estimate on the amount of days needed to reach my target weight. But, I wasn’t finished yet. I set up a meal calendar and began to schedule what days of the week I needed to meal prep. This helped my diet immensely, and kept me from eating fast food numerous times a week. Excel also had a nifty recipe tracker that was an awesome addition to my meal planner because it helped me calculate the nutritional content of recipes I made. No longer was I clueless about the amount of food I ate. No longer was I ignoring the calorie count of each meal I made. I reclaimed a huge volume of the self-control that I assumed was lost forever.

Two years and sixty pounds later, I can finally say that I am happy with my weight. My blood pressure has returned to a healthy range and my confidence is stronger than ever. When I look back and see the progress I’ve made, the most fantastic feeling washes over me. I overcame a feat I once thought impossible. Technology, like Excel, was a big factor in my victory. I am so grateful to have such wonderful and versatile programs that can aid in creating a better life.

Once again, congratulations Brad and Kati!!

Also …

If you know an accounting student that would like to apply for next year’s scholarship, send them over to excel-university.com/scholarship to apply.

Again … a big THANK YOU to all Excel University students! Your enrollments support this scholarship program and these bright accounting students!

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Jeff Lenning

I love sharing the things I've learned about Excel, and I built Excel University to help me do that. My motto is: Learn Excel. Work Faster.

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  1. Inger Lambert on July 14, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Great blog post! Congratulations to Brad and Kati!

  2. Joann Waid on July 14, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Congrats to both winners.
    I would LOVE to know if Katie’s weight-loss tracker has been commercialized or is available to be shared or purchased!

    • Jeff Lenning on July 14, 2017 at 7:53 am

      I’ll forward your comment to Kati and we can find out 🙂

  3. Nan Page on July 25, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Is Brads Finance calculator available? I’d love to see at least a screen shot of how he set it up. Congrats to both winners.

    • Jeff Lenning on July 25, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Nan…That was proprietary to his employer, sorry about that!

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