About me an Excel consultant & freelancer
Welcome to The Excel Factor
If you are here to find an Excel Expert and Excel based solutions for your business data and analytics, then you are at the right place. We can help you anything related to professional level spreadsheets. I am based near the Gold Coast Qld Australia
Who I am
Hello, this page is about me an Excel consultant & freelancer. The Excel Factor is my business name for a small advanced Excel spreadsheet solutions and financial modelling business. Very small, in fact, its mainly just me, John Hackwood, a friendly & passionate Excel consultant & freelancer living just south of border near the fabulous Gold Coast QLD Australia with my wife and Aussie Terrier dog Bluey. I truly enjoy helping clients and adding value to their jobs and businesses with great professional quality spreadsheets. My wife Nupur, a dentist and PhD sometimes works with me especially if the task is medical related, but she also is a dead set ‘out of the box’ thinker and many times comes up with an annoyingly, unique and brilliant solution :).
I have a strong finance & international resource marketing background after working many years in 3 of the world’s top 5 mining houses namely BHP, Anglo American and Rio Tinto (Comalco) as well as in the manufacturing sector much earlier in my career (Rheem Australia).
I have a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) degree from QUT and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australia (formerly the Securities Institute of Australia). So I started my career as an accountant in manufacturing with Rheem in Brisbane and Sydney, then moved into the resource commodity industry back in Brisbane doing marketing reporting, export contract administration, trade finance and credit management roles.
In 2001, I moved to Singapore with the then BHPBilliton to take on a Senior Credit Controller role for Carbon Steel Materials (coking coal, iron ore and manganese). I used spreadsheets and Excel throughout this career, in fact that’s an understatement, using Excel was like breathing, just ‘part and parcel’ of my job day in day out.
We returned to the Redlands in 2004 and then my wife Nupur, a Dentist, by this time wanted to own her own dental practice which we did in 2005 starting small with a one chair in Redland Bay and growing this to a very busy and successful 4 chair practice. It went well and before long was busy enough to demand me full time so I moved into this our own business in 2008. Due to a lack of systems in the Dental Industry, I naturally turned to using advanced Excel for many purposes and especially VBA programing and pivot tables to gain efficiencies and functionality expensive dental software just did not have. I started theExcelFactor.com website and service in 2010 working for companies as a contractor and also at first from HR hire firms to gain experience doing the work I loved.
We sold our practice in 2016 and I have continued on with The Excel Factor business and my wife helps me on certain jobs especially if dental or medical related and she also designed and built this website.
I am a Queenslander, although these days live just over the border in the fantastic Tweed Shire NSW. I work with clients from all over Australia with many typically being located on the Gold Coast, Yatala, Logan and Brisbane, QLD Australia as well as Far North Coast NSW clients on the Tweed Coast, Murwillumbah, Casino, Kyogle, Byron Bay and Lismore NSW and even some companies overseas.
My linked-in profile is below.
There is also some more detail about my earlier resources marketing career related to my credit management and trade finance skills at my Credit Management & Trade Finance page.
What I do
I do advanced Excel spreadsheeting including Excel VBA / macros, Excel Power Query and all the other advanced tools outlined in my site for mainly local Australian businesses large and small. I have been doing this work as a contractor under my The Excel Factor business name since 2010.
I work as a contractor under my simple terms sheet and depending on the complexity of the job on an hourly basis with a reliable estimate or fixed price if the client requires this and this is feasible.
I do nearly all my Excel work from my home office but outside of Covid times I have visited clients for meetings on large projects. Really happy the business world embraced MS Teams and Zoom as I find for Excel spreadsheet work this is actually a more effective meeting.
Why I do this
Excel work is fun for me. I love what I do, happy to stay small and work from home wherever I can.
I can help you get a handle on your business financial modelling projects, reporting and spreadsheet problems or Excel automation for admin task or Excel data projects quickly.
I love helping people solve problems and increase their effectiveness and productivity with what I know works so well.
Chief Excel Officer - CEO
What's Higher than the CEO?
A little spreadsheet history...
Anyone interested in a little spreadsheet history might enjoy my blog post that has Dan Bricklin’s TED Talk who along with along with Bob Frankston were the creators of VisiCalc in 1979. Before Visicalc there was no spreadsheet except the paper kind to the right where most of the effort went into the calculating not the thinking behind the numbers. It’s easy to forget the imagination these guys had to envisage such a revolutionary idea now taken for granted by 600 million people. If you were making a list of the top 20 inventions of the 20th Century I reckon Visicalc should be there.
At 6:05 in this video Dan Bricklin says “The act of making a simple, working version of what you are trying to build forces you to uncover key problems. And lets you find solutions to those problems much less expensively.” He was talking about the benefit of using an electronic spreadsheet – refining your thinking about what you are modelling not just the output itself.
Visicalc was the first commercially successful spreadsheet then and of course the world still had the even more successful Lotus 123 to embrace for about 10 years before Microsoft saw that Lotus 123 was being improved much and so a better featured Excel became the world’s spreadsheet.
To be honest, I have been doing spreadsheeting a very long time, and used Lotus 123 and 20/20 (a mainframe spreadsheet) and became hooked on these tools. I would come to work on Saturdays to play around and learn them as there were no home PCs in those days. But it was just so much damn fun compared to the tedium of handwritten spreadsheets and a tape calculator say when calculating stock take values or the monthly result and volume, price and mix variances for a manufacturer (Rheem) that I worked for.
So this love for spreadsheets came from kind of growing up along with them and I think I gained a deep understanding along the way. I loved them for the tedious work they replaced and the boring way I otherwise would spend my days. And I love them for the exciting new powerful feature of modern Excel. The latest Office 365 version has the new Power Query, PowerPivot, Power BI and exciting and growing number of Dynamic Array formulas. I am very quick to dump old ways for the new in Excel.
Recent Courses and Seminars
Power Query Academy Advanced
2021, Skillwave (Ken Puls / Miguel Escobar / Matt Allington)
Power Query Academy Fundamentals
2020, Skillwave (Ken Puls / Miguel Escobar)
Building BI with Modern Excel
2019,MVP Ken Puls XLGuru
Wellington, New Zealand
2017, Ken, Puls, Roger Govier, Jon Peltier
MS Access to Advanced Level
2016, Richard Rost
The Excel Summit South
2016, Charles Williams including Bill Jelen, Ken Puls
MS Dev Team
Power Pivot and Power Query
2014, Matt Allington
2012, MVP Chandoo
I have been doing this work since 2010 part time and this full time since 2016. By now I have seen a wide variety of Excel situations & challenges to solve!