Spreadsheet Check and Control

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9781905404001: Spreadsheet Check and Control

This spreadsheet book is quite different from every other book on Microsoft Excel. If spreadsheet users had a driving licence, this would be their seat belt, air bag, navigation aid, repair kit, hazard indicators, and the rules of the road.

This new book describes how to produce well-crafted spreadsheets that are easy to understand, maintain, audit, and operate. It shows how to ensure data quality and accuracy and protect against formula and operational errors.

Each of the 47 techniques is explained with examples and has a self-test practical question with answers at the back of the book. The book¡¦s support web site provides sample spreadsheets for these tests.

The material gives spreadsheet users more confidence in their work, and saves time chasing and fixing easily preventable errors. Those whose job is to check the work of others, whether they are software testers or auditors, will learn formula auditing techniques and be able to reveal hidden data and formulas. This book should be adopted by organizations concerned to reduce compliance costs by being able to demonstrate management of material risks and increase controls on spreadsheet based financial reporting.

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From the Publisher:

Summary of contents

It begins with the process of design, specification techniques, the use of appropriate documentation, security, backup, protection, and the development of conventions, formats and internal corporate standards.

It recommends how to setup a spreadsheet, to construct and simplify the basic building blocks of formulas, workbook settings, and range names. It shows how to check for unusual settings, for example with rounding and precision, which are the source of traps for the unwary (¡¥gotchas¡¦).

A key section on debugging shows how to identify the causes of error values, methods of error handling, and how to detect missing inputs and calculations. It explains how common mistakes arise when structural changes are made, and common problems with known error-prone formulas and external links. It shows how to discover inconsistencies and mistakes, correct them, recover from incorrect operations, and create self-checking formulas.

The display section shows how to uncover hidden and obscured data and formatting, how to discover problems with data types, and incorrect sorting and queries in database ranges. The use and abuse of charts is illustrated.

The most important yet least practiced skill is of spreadsheet testing and review. Worked examples show how to create and run test cases, and how to build in cross-checks for internal control. Auditing techniques are described such as how to reveal hidden formulas, rows, columns, worksheets. Data integrity and validation are described. Appendices summarise error checking, keyboard shortcuts, websites, software tools, the answers to the ¡¥Check your knowledge¡¦ questions, and an index.

From the Author:

It is not like other books that list functions, menu commands, annoyances, software bugs, or advanced tricks. Rather, it looks at the most common ways in which human errors and software defects arise, because errors are the cause of many million-dollar expensive and career-limiting mistakes.

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