CCNC/CCNC Module 4/Preparing the spreadsheet for distribution/Are all data accurate?
Are all data accurate?
A spreadsheet is an example of a decision support system. We create spreadsheets so that data can be analysed in various ways and turned into information.
You can think of information as data that has been manipulated in various ways so that we are able to interpret the results. Ways in which we manipulate data include things like sorting, summing, averaging, and so on.
If our data is incorrect or if the logic of our manipulations is flawed, the information will be useless at best and dangerous at worst.
If our spreadsheet provides us with incorrect information, we will make incorrect decisions.
Before we make use of a spreadsheet or before we pass it on to someone else to make use of, here are some checks that should be carried out:
- Check the values that have been entered for correctness.
- Check the completeness of the data. Has all data been entered?
- Check that the correct functions and formulas have been used.
It is possible to get spreadsheets that provide us with information, but there are errors in the formulas. For example, incorrect ranges may have been used in functions.
- Verify that summaries provide reasonable values.
For example, if you have a spreadsheet that determines the average sales of a group of representatives, this value will be somewhere between the largest and smallest values.
Just as numeric work needs to be accurate, the presentation needs to reflect professionalism. This means that the creator of a spreadsheet must check grammar and spelling as well as layout before releasing the spreadsheet. A poorly constructed spreadsheet will be treated with less respect by users, even if the numeric work is correct.