Wim Gielis [Member Monday #14]

Hi Friends, it is #MemberMondays again, and today we will feature someone really amazing as he is a Microsoft Excel MVP. I am very glad and we are very fortunate to have him in our group. Someone who has earned a status of an MVP and yet still helps other Excel enthusiast and sharing all his insights and knowledge willingly to everyone despite his busy schedule.

Everyone, please join me in congratulating WIM GEILIS! Congratulations Wim and thank you very much for all the help and contributions you made not only to our members but to the whole Excel Community. We are deeply honored to have you in our group. All that you have done for the group and our members are greatly appreciated. Please continue to share your knowledge to everyone as you are really a treasure to the Excel Community.

Like the other members, we also asked Wim some questions and he has some words for us all. Here it is:

1. How did your start your Excel journey?

How did your start your Excel journey?
I was looking for some online help with an Excel issue. It must have been the year 2005. I ended up on Ozgrid and stayed there for quite a while also being a Moderator. I use the Search function to among other things start my journey in Excel and VBA. I moved from looking for help towards being a helper, totalling now over 40,000 posts at various message boards (Ozgrid, MrExcel, 2 Dutch forums, etc.) After a while I started blogging about Excel topics and set up my own website (, although most of the Excel material is written in Dutch there are also many articles that have been written in English. I live and work in Belgium, Western Europe. After that, my work and profile was picked up by Microsoft folks who awarded me the Most Valuable Professional award for Excel, 4 times in a row. Still nowadays Excel is a hobby, although my full-time job of Business Intelligence consultant also deals with formulas, calculations, interfaces, programming: my main job has to do with planning, reporting, budgeting at renowned customers in Belgium and surrounding countries – setting up multi-dimensional cubes to support these (often critical) business processes. The software is called TM1 or Planning Analytics and it’s owned and developed by IBM.

2. Why did you chose Excel?

I’ve always had a feeling for formulas and numbers. I studied Economics and added quite some statistics and econometrics into the mix. The most important thing for me is automation and getting rid of cumbersome, error-prone, jobs/duties/tasks – whatever you call them. An investment in knowledge, time and money to set up a (custom) routine pays off, really! It’s AMAZING how much you can do! Even though it’s not the best programming language there is, far from that, VBA is amazing because it’s part of a program that many people feel familiar with: Excel. You can see in your spreadsheet whether your code works or not, you can debug, find a lot of references online. You can automate Excel, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint etc. For example, I make appointments in my own Outlook calendar using a consistent approach and at month end, activity reports and invoicing all come out of the calendar using VBA!

3. How long have you been working with Excel?

Certainly longer than 2005, but let’s say as of end of the nineties presumably.

4. How has Excel for Freelancers helped you?

It’s always good to get into contact with other Excel enthusiasts and pick up new techniques, as well share with other best practices, links to decent material on the web, sourcing from my heavy Excel & VBA message boards activity.

5. What are your goals?

Continuing to do what we like to do, which is Excel. I can set up a spreadsheet or some macro’s for others against a decent payment but I don’t have the time to start from scratch and reinvent the wheels. So you can always ask for my availability and feedback/cost estimation on a certain task – not a full program A to Z. [I have no business for myself, mind you]. Whenever time permits I will assist peers here on Facebook when they’re stuck and from time to time I will post new material, as well as on my website. Excel also evolves so eager to use PowerQuery, DAX and similar tools. Outside of Excel, AutoHotKey is a new favourite tool since a year or so, Python might be on the roadmap, never enough time to do what we would like to do!

6. What advice can you give to our members?

PRACTICE A LOT and spend time, Google a lot (in English keywords most of the time)! It might cost you some effort to step up the learning curve but it’s rewarding in the end! It stimulates and boosts your capacities and self confidence in an unseen and truly AMAZING way!

Thanks Very Much,

Randy Austin

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