There are many ways to design an effective spreadsheet model and there are at least three consistent: intentionality and clean up. Intentionality – Spreadsheet have a way of evolving thought an iterative process leaving a confusing, spaghetti like trail. Be intentional about what goes where, be consistent in choices of names, and clarify processes.
The Pre-Submission Checklist – Use BEFORE EVERY Case Submission
Before submitted an assignment, I urge that you consider the items below.
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#1 Assumptions #2 Named Ranges #3 Design #4 Accounting Form
#1 Assumptions – Do not hard code values in a formula or function; rather outside reference them as an assumption. Basically, an assumption is a variable; an item whose value or content may change. Hard code means don’t enter the value of the variable inside a formula, rather refer to it as an outside reference.
#2 Named Ranges – Named ranges provide clarity and documentation and should be used when possible. On some occasions the physical size of address can make named ranges unusable.
While there are practical limitations to the use of names ranges and the actual decision may be a matter of preference, it is important to give thought to whether named ranges are used effectively.
#3 Design – There are many ways to design an effective spreadsheet model and there are at least three consistent: intentionality and clean up.
Intentionality – Spreadsheet have a way of evolving thought an iterative process leaving a confusing, spaghetti like trail. Be intentional about what goes where, be consistent in choices of names, and clarify processes.
Clean up – Clean-up unused parts and pieces that may rise from the iterative design process.
#4 Accounting Form
Accounting has been called the “language of business” and whether you’re an accountant or even if your work isn’t “business” per se,’ it’s useful to “speak” the language with some consistency.
While there are some pretty hard and fast accounting layout and design rules, there are also variations, opinions, organizational practices, etc. Internal standards can be pretty helpful, when applicable..
It is often the case that an organization will establish their own particular “standards” for a variety of things, such as filenames, design guidelines, etc. The three items listed below will be our “organizational standards” for accounting layout for the course, where applicable.
To simplify, we’ll focus on the three rules, or best practices, below (there are others).
Obviously, since the reference below is to “dollar” signs, these rules are reflective of specific currency assumptions (e.g. there are as many as 180 different types of currencies).
BEST PRACTICE #1 – Dollar Signs – All amounts at the top of each column should have dollar signs. If the column is a part of added sequence. If the column isn’t a part of an added sequence, then using the Dollar signs for each item is preferrable.
Excel Format for $ Signs – Accounting or Currency? As you may know, or will soon learn, Excel offers two ways to format so that a $ sign is displayed: Currency and Accounting. “Currency” will display the “$” sign immediately adjacent to the corresponding value and “Accounting” dangles the $ sign to left of the cell. I prefer currency, though I’ll accept either, but it is critical that you remain consistent within an assignment.
BEST PRACTICE #2 – Single Underline (or underscore, as some say) – Amounts that are the result of addition or subtraction should have a single underline.
BEST PRACTICE #3 – Double Underline (again, or underscore, as some say) – Totals, but not sub-totals), e.g., the “bottom line,” should have a double underline (and dollar signs)
I am using the color GREEN to highlight the course best practices below; in practice the color of the $, underline, and double underline will generally by black (or the color of the associated value).
Total Revenues $114,000
Total Expenses 90,000
Net Income $24,000
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