Joella Nour June 11, 2021 Spreadsheet
Oh my goodness, it‘s not surprising that so many couples who want to get divorced just stay separated for years. The process is daunting, expensive and, frankly, ridiculous. Basically I had to stop communicating with my husband immediately. Going forward all communication would be between my lawyer and his lawyer. We would turn in all of our financial documents and her paralegals would put them into spreadsheet form and then we would go about dividing everything up. We would have to come up with a parenting plan, my husband and I, with these two lawyers translating for us. We would have to get employment contracts from his employers so I knew that I was getting a fair share of all of his assets. It was going to be long and drawn out and messy. And the cost, somewhere between $15,000-$100,000, minimum.
Lester P. Goodbinder had suffered another agonizing week in Pittsburgh. The semi-annual audit he conducted at the Bourgeois Ball Bearing Factory stretched into five 14-hour days examining electronic spreadsheets on an archaic computer system installed in the early ‘80s. The equipment churned so abysmally he cleverly joked to himself it was powered by lazy hamsters on treadmills. Not only that, the accounting software loaded on the system was an early version of ”Abacus,” and only slightly faster than a key-punch adding machine but considerably slower than a hand-held calculator.
Microsoft Excel is a phenomenally powerful calculator. You can create spreadsheets with 10,000 lines of data and calculate subtotals instantly. Indeed, if you change your data, any totals will get automatically updated. Arguably that‘s not too impressive. If we have quarterly revenues of $1m, and we secure another $20k, we can update our subtotal without summing revenues from scratch. So it‘s more impressive that Excel can do the same thing with statistical functions. If you‘ve ever plotted a chart on Excel, you may be aware that you can add a best fit line. These best fit lines are calculated using a method known as regression. Basically, you have to calculate the distance of every single point from the line, and minimise the sum. The maths is a little more sophisticated but the key point is that, every time you change the data, you need to perform the analysis all over again.
In a well-designed spreadsheet, any output can be calculated from the raw data. However, that‘s not always enough. Sometimes the output is fixed and the raw data is variable. Let‘s say you run an investment company and want to offer your clients a fixed return. An Excel expert could create a very complex model to calculate the likely return on investments over a fixed period. You could then calculate the internal rate of return being offered to clients. The problem is that you‘re not interested in the return offered to clients; that is, after all, fixed. Instead you‘re concerned with how much money you expect to draw from the investment fund, whilst still offering your investors a satisfactory return. If you have $1 and owe investors a quarter, you can calculate your profits using a simple formula.
As a set of general rules data is most useful when things like text fields hold only names as well as meaningful and validated codes, categories and classifications. Text notes and other free form text should be isolated to a dedicated notes field and thus separated from other numeric data. Numeric fields should hold only numeric values (numbers, dates, %‘s and in the correct quantum or magnitude with no text prefixes, suffixes, spaces, text elements or text notes present. You must also be careful that numeric data is not stored as text and it should be internally consistent in terms of the correct format so that it can be used in calculations or for comparison and queries. Finally, addresses should be separated out into multiple fields such as street address, town /suburb, state / province, postal code and country to allow for geographic analysis and mail outs if required. Fixing up a data set to meet these criteria is called data scrubbing, cleansing or massaging. This data cleansing process can be very time consuming even for an experienced Microsoft Excel user, database engineer, business analyst or computer programmer.
Paying off your debt and becoming financially independent has many important parts. The most important of those is creating a budget. A budget gives you an outline of where your money is going and where it should go. In some instances, it can be used to create strict limits for your spending. How well you stick to the budget is up to you. When you reach the end of your budget month, the balance for the month should be 0. Funds in – Funds out = 0. If you end up with a negative number, you‘ve overspent and will need to adjust by reducing budgeted funds in another category or by reducing the total amount of money available for the next month. If you end up with a positive number, you‘ve spent less than you made. Good for you! Now, put that money to good use. Pay down some debt, or put it into savings.
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