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No Good News Has Been Delivered Using Excel

I am paraphrasing something from John Oliver on his HBO show. Excel is Microsoft’s spreadsheet/swiss army knife tool (i.e. you can do anything with it), but I agree with Mr. Oliver. I have never seen good news delivered using excel.

delivered using excel
A great example of Excel Bad News, a list of wrong PINs!

During my career, I have seen the following information sent to me in Excel format:

  • Ranking of employees,  used to figure out who gets laid off
  • How much over-budget project is.

In defence of Excel, it is a magnificent tool in accounting complex arithmetic and such. Usually, any good news that might come from an Excel S/S ends up being encapsulated into a Powerpoint presentation. If I receive only the data in an Excel S/S, it is saying,

“… this is bad news, we don’t feel like “flowering it up” by putting it into a Word Document or a Powerpoint Presentation it is easier delivered using excel…”

I have seen this when folks discuss their finances. The mention of an Excel sheet causes tension. Rarely does anyone bring up an Excel Spreadsheet with your budget on it to show “… how well you are doing…”. It is to show where (precisely) you are failing.

Can you send good news in an Excel Spreadsheet?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I don’t know if this counts, but one time I helped a friend with a student loan simulation in excel and found the REPAYE program would save her $200k compared to the IBR program she was using. So crappy news that she owed so much but cool that she saved several thousands with another method!

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