A pivot table is tool used in spreadsheet programs designed to collect information from one table or spreadsheet and then summarize the data on a second. Aside from making data easier to read, data tables also allow the user to select one or more list of values and view or manipulate the data in a useful way. They can be used to calculate totals, provide average values, or display data in a categorized method for review (essentially, a summary of data by category).
Pivot tables have often been used in the business world to summarize sales data, to more easily see sales figures by category, department, location, etc. It can be used in a similar way, but for reviewing costs as well, instead of sales.
Formulas can also be used with pivot tables to calculate totals, averages, standard deviations, and more.