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CPE Today’s New Learning Tool: Power Query and Power BI Training

CPE Today is excited to announce our brand new learning tool: CPE Today SQL Sandbox. We at CPE Today believe that the best type of learning is hands-on. We spend a lot of time and energy teaching how to best use Power BI, Power Query, and Power Automate in our students’ day-to-day jobs. However, we have found there is a disconnect between taking our classes and being able to implement what we have taught. Therefore, we will bridge that gap with our new Learn SQL service, where our attendees can practice data reporting techniques in a safe environment.

Our new CPE Today SQL Sandbox is a public cloud-based database. Cloud databases are now the rule and not the exception. In the past, we gave our students hands-on training using bulky Accesses demo files. Those files had to be downloaded to the local computer.

With our Cloud databases, we have a great way to give hands-on experience. With CPE Today SQL Sandbox, students will be able to follow along with the instructor in real-time. It will be the catalyst to ensure a consistent learning experience across all students.

Power Query and Power BI are genuinely incredible tools to revolutionize workflow.

Course - Power BI

They offer the promise of “write once, refresh many” reporting where reports can be instantly updated in real-time with the click of a button. These tools can be hooked directly to a company’s databases, accounting applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, etc. Once the connection is established, they can dynamically retrieve anything from the database and populate reports. While Power Query and Power BI are incredible tools, they require additional training and experience to master.

The CPE Today SQL Sandbox is a public server with several sample databases to help students learn to extract, transform and load (ETL) data into dashboards and spreadsheets. This tool will give practical hands-on experience working with cloud databases from major accounting solutions, including QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, and more. We have accomplished this by making functional replicas of the schema of these accounting databases. These databases are what students expect to see once they start working with their actual company data. We’ve also created more straightforward databases to help new users learn the rope. We have more comprehensive databases for practicing more advanced techniques.

We ensured that our sample databases followed the same structure, data types, and more to ensure you got a realistic experience of working with production accounting data. Working with the CPE Today SQL Sandbox, everything you will learn will be immediately transferable to a production environment. Later this year, we plan to add more demo databases from other accounting tools, such as Xero and Sage 100.

Course - K2's The Power of Array Formulas in Excel (Stage)

We designed this tool to help give hands-on experience extracting data from your accounting system to Excel or Power BI. We felt that our attendees needed an experience as close to the real thing as possible, including configuring the tools, authenticating with the cloud services, and extracting data from the database tables.

This new service will allow you to experience building a report from start to finish under the same conditions you would experience working with your company’s actual data. However,  you don’t have to wrestle with your IT team to get access or risk causing an issue with your existing data. We want every person to have a safe place to practice their new working skills with database data in Excel or Power BI.

Outside of Power Query and Power BI, this service can also be used to experiment and learn tools such as Power Automate, Zapier, and more. This data originates from a Microsoft SQL (MSSQL) or MySQL server. It will work natively with almost everything, with no need to install a separate driver. Using the MSSQL version of the service, you can natively connect in both Excel and Power BI without needing a separate driver. When using MySQL, an ODBC driver will be required to bring your data into Excel and Power BI. This driver is available for free from Oracle.

The CPE Today SQL Sandbox is a powerful learning tool that will help students take their Power Query and Power BI skills to the next level.

This tool, along with our classes, will provide you with the knowledge to turn your organization’s actual data into repeatable refreshable pivot tables, Power BI dashboards, and more! We hope this tool helps our students become better at their jobs and feel more confident in their abilities. If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to us at support@cpetoday.com. We would love to hear from you!

The CPE Today SQL Sandbox is available now. We encourage all of our students to take advantage of this powerful learning tool. To gain access to the CPE Today SQL Sandbox, check out our podcast “Learn SQL with Steve” We will be giving one year of free access to that podcast. It will have instructions on how to gain access to the tool. Access to the tool will also be available with purchasing any of the CPE Today Power BI, Power Query, or Power Automate course offerings.


If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to us at support@cpetoday.com. We would love to hear from you! Thank you for choosing CPE Today!

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