Data analytics project: Contribution margin analysis and segment margins for introductory managerial accounting

This blog post contains a data analytics project that is suitable for introductory managerial accounting. The student uses Excel to analyze a data set that contains more than 48,000 records. The data analytics project can be assigned in the course once the concepts of contribution margincontribution margin ratio, and segment margins reviewed.

Overview of project

This project uses sales and cost data for a fictitious cabinet hardware company, Cabinet Accessories Company (CAC.) In this project, the student will use Excel to create a variety of pivot tables, format the pivot tables, apply filters, and create calculated columns. The student also needs to cleanse the data set by finding and correcting errors in the data set. In addition, the student will create a pivot chart.

Project resources

The tutorial video has closed captioning; the annotated slides for the tutorial video have the same script. The tutorial data set is an Excel file containing a small subset of the full data set; I used this small data set in creating the tutorial video.

Office 365 or Excel 2016 (newest versions)

Anyone doing this project will need to have either Office 365 or Excel 2016. Updates Microsoft has made to Excel 2016 include the ability to automatically group dates by quarters and years (an integral part of this project), so if a student says that their pivot table does not have quarters or years (or any other issue), tell them to update their version of Office 365 and/or Excel 2016.


If you would like to have a copy of the Excel solution file, please fill out the request form. Once I verify your status as an instructor, I will email the file to you, usually within a week. Please do not post the solution file on the internet and please do not share the solutions file with your students. The Excel solutions file is for your own use only.