Payroll Calculations

The Payroll Calculations exercise is designed to reinforce management concepts taught in class, as well as provide exposure to dozens of Excel techniques that appear on the Microsoft Excel Certification exam. Students pay $9.95 for the exercise and are guided through a video with numbered steps.

The students are taught 42 different Excel concepts.
  • Enabling Get Data from Text
  • Opening and Saving .xlsx files
  • Using the Text Import Wizard
  • Assigning Worksheet Names
  • Importing Tab-delimited text files
  • Importing Fixed-width text files
  • Adjusting column breaks when importing text files
  • Importing Comma-delimited text files
  • Opening CSV files
  • Filtering data
  • Inserting worksheets
  • Using the VLOOKUP function
  • Using the MIN function
  • Using the MAX function
  • Highlighting specific records with Conditional Formatting
  • Using the Freeze Panes feature
  • Using the CONCATENATE function, as well as a non-function-based alternative
  • Creating a PivotTable
  • Utilizing Tabular Form in a PivotTable
  • Removing Subtotals from a PivotTable
  • Removing Grand Totals from a PivotTable
  • Repeating All Item Labels in a PivotTable
  • Sorting data within a PivotTable
  • Filtering data within a PivotTable
  • Using the Wrap Text feature
  • Using the SUMIF function
  • Creating a weighted allocation calculatoin
  • Using the ROUND function
  • Using the SUMIFS function
  • Using the AutoSum command
  • Using the AVERAGEIF function
  • Using the COUNTIFfunction
  • Calculating selected payroll taxes
  • Drilling-down a PivotTable
  • Using Page Break Preview
  • Changing the Print Orientation for a page
  • Managing page breaks
  • Creating a Page Footer
  • Sorting with multiple columns
  • Using the Subtotal feature
  • Creating a Text Box
  • Creating an Organization Chart
Students enter perform the following management tasks on their own:
  • Allocate bonus pools to employees based on employee performance scores.
  • Create a pivot table to summarize amounts by general ledger account for Total Compensation, Social Security Taxes, and Medicare Taxes.

Each student is assigned a unique 4-digit number known as their Spreadsheet ID for use during the exercise. This ID number is incorporated into the exercise and helps ensure that each student turns in their own work.

The students submit their work to us and we handle all of the grading. We give you three scores:

  • Completion: This score indicates if the student attempted a given step.
  • Accuracy: This score indicates carried out the step accurately.
  • Combined: The average of the two Completion and Accuracy scores.

Within one week of an assignment’s due date we provide instructors with a spreadsheet showing all student results. Partial credit in our scoring is given if a student at least attempts a step. Instructors determine final credit for each student, and whether late submissions are allowed. Students receive written feedback confirming which steps were completed successfully, as well as providing guidance on steps that they did not attempt or did not complete correctly.

Some instructors give more weight to the Completion score than the Accuracy score, while other instructors use the combined average when determining credit. We’re happy to provide any additional information that can help you as an instructor.

Please direct questions to David Ringstrom ( or 404.784.0275. Learn more about us at