Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
import text files, or other file formats. You might copy and paste
data from some other source. Or you might use all of these
methods in one report.
If you want to be careful, you then reconcile your spreadsheet data
with the source, to reduce the possibility of data-entry errors.
Then you massage the data. You sort it. Summarize it. Combine it
with other data. Create columns of formulas to analyze it. And you
modify it to create consistent labels for dates, descriptions, account
codes, and other meta data .
Finally, hours later, the report is done…and somewhat error-free. If
the report turns out to be useful it becomes a continual cause of
spreadsheet hell. This is because weekly, or monthly, you must
repeat that same manual process.
Flexibility is about the only advantage to manual spreadsheet
reporting. It offers Excel users no constraints. You start with an
empty spreadsheet, and the rest is up to you.
This approach offers many disadvantages. Most of these can be
summarized in one term: spreadsheet hell.
Additionally, this approach is the most error-prone of any method
used to populate reports. In these days of Sarbanes Oxley, that’s a
very serious disadvantage.