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October 7, 2015

Spreadsheet Modeling Best Practices

Spreadsheet models can be powerful tools that assist in key decision making processes throughout an organization. Spreadsheets provide extraordinary versatility that enables their use across most functional areas for a wide variety of analytics to drive organizational excellence. For DYCACL spreadsheets provide the computation core for our developed applications. With that in mind, let me offer a few best practices for controlling and managing spreadsheets as a calculator and decision making tool.

1. Properly Documented

Whether the documentation is included in the spreadsheet or written as a separate document, the model should have instructions that label the assumptions, methodology, and limitations of the model. It should allow someone that’s reasonably knowledgable in basic spreadsheet usage to pick up the model and make modifications and gain confidence in the reliability of the model.

2. Variables Clearly Labeled 

The spreadsheet should let the user know where functions are used and where variables should be entered. If necessary, the formula cells should be protected. I like to pull elements of Web 2.0 styles and make large, bright, and visually stimulating data entry fields.

3. Traceable

If formulas and macros are used, it should be relatively easy to trace the data and formula and come to the same conclusions.

4. Simplicity

The model should be as simple as possible to achieve the objective. If a simple formula can be used, do so. Using non-traditional formulas can create unnecessary complexities and make it difficult to trace.

These are some essential techniques to minimize the risks associated with the use of spreadsheets and help DYCALC Team to convert fast your excel model into a webbased application.

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