Posted 20 hours ago

Paladone I Love Spreadsheets Mug

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Hear me out: Spreadsheets can do powerful calculations, they’re flexible, and they’re widely available! Sure, there are plenty of new platforms and apps around wanting to disrupt my spreadsheet habit (Hello, Airtable! I see you Coda 👋)— but I would need to start learning all over again. Spreadsheets are easy. They allow me to play around with numbers, presentation, formulae, graphs. They give me the freedom to prototype a solution without committing to the final output. There are few tools around in the world of finance that can grow with the business, enable finance to adapt to changing business requirements, and empower us to rapidly model business decisions into financial outcomes. The Reinhart-Rogoff Facepalm Moment — Harvard’s Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff are two of the most respected and influential academic economists active today. Or at least, they were.

The proliferation of spreadsheets across the world of finance is largely due to its flexibility and ease of use. For exactly those reasons, anyone can create a poorly executed, undocumented and visually impressive spreadsheet. Whenever finance think ‘how can I do this without IT or data engineering’, spreadsheets are the go-to tool of choice. CFOs must have confidence in their data. They must know the exact data sources that feed into their financial reports — and their providence. The reality is that many finance departments don’t have visibility into data flows across their spreadsheet landscape. The data links between the different spreadsheets across departments, regions, and models are routinely undocumented and so impossible to view and accurately decipher. Dear spreadsheet — if it’s not too much to ask, can you make it easy for me to see where the data is coming from?Power Query: Within the Power Query Editor, there is a “Remove Rows” tool under the “Reduce Rows” section. Within that is an option to “Remove Duplicates”, which will look at your first column and only keep the first instance of any identical cell values. An approval process that releases a financial model, or a spreadsheet of any kind, into ‘production’. This approval process should certify that the workbook has passed an audit and is available for general use. ⚠ RISK 5 — SPAGHETTI JUNCTION However, when they obtained the actual spreadsheet used for the original calculations, they identified three errors.

I expect that, in many cases, the answer to that is they either don’t plan, or they spend ages writing stuff out on paper. On April 16, doctoral student Thomas Herndon and professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, released the results of their analysis of two 2010 papers by Reinhard and Rogoff. Reinhart and Rogoff’s work showed average real economic growth slows (a 0.1% decline) when a country’s debt rises to more than 90% of gross domestic product (GDP) — and this 90% figure was employed repeatedly in political arguments over high-profile austerity measures. Ultimately, in my mind, they’re used to organise chaos. A tornado of information is organised into rows, columns and sheets and suddenly, the world makes sense again. After a week of extensive research compiling offers from major banks and credit card companies, I sent my sister an Excel spreadsheet breaking down her options,” he says. “Soon, that spreadsheet was forwarded widely outside of my family and friends. That’s when I realised there was a real shopability problem in financial services where consumers had to sift through banks’ dense materials for information.” My love for you grows... because you save me time and money Imagine a world without spreadsheets; hard as this may be, they are not fit for the purpose you might be using them for. What in an ideal world would make your life easier? A web based tool, a built in communications platform, a central point for everyone to work in, from designers through to marketers, the ability to manage multiple output channels from one point?I love a good spreadsheet, I genuinely do, I’ve recently gone through a massive house renovation project and this was essential for managing the budget – there was also the huge satisfaction of when things came in under budget, my formula would automatically calculate a positive! (unfortunately this didn’t happen very often) Another option is using an API. As a starting place, here’s an article about how to read spreadsheets using an API in Python. With an API, we’re able to use other languages like Java or R as well! Suddenly, I have error terror! So, what are the most common risks, and what can we do about them? ⚠ RISK 1 — WHERE ARE THE SPREADSHEETS?

Ability to have real-time dialogue between team members within a workbook with mention functionality. I want to stay in flow when I’m in the spreadsheet zone 🙏 I know how wierd it sounds to say “I love spreadsheets!”. I mean, you don’t hear people saying things like “I love Word documents!”, or, “I love JPEGS!” do you?! Built-in workflow approvals that ensure a level of due diligence is followed in the preparation of financial information ⚠ RISK 4 — UNDETECTED ERRORS

Can you think of another system in finance that doesn’t have access controls built in? For good reason, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) requires that all organisations should behave ethically and limit access to financial data. Data breaches and leaks are not uncommon, and can lead to significant financial loss for a company — recently evidenced by the FinCEN leaks in the US. I know there’s more to a spreadsheet than that, pretty charts, macros, the ability to manipulate data (although I do have to admit that pivot tables are beyond me), however, at its core the above definition is pretty accurate. If this is the case then why are so many organisations still using spreadsheets to manage their marketing campaigns?

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