Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Excel in Handcuffs

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Excel in Handcuffs

Article excerpt

Q. A client sent me the attached odd spreadsheet (pictured at right and available at carltoncollins. com/display.xlsx). Supposedly it's an Excel workbook, but there are no column or row references, and the cursor won't move past the last column or row. Can you take a look at this and tell me what has been done, or what this is?

A. After examining your attached spreadsheet, I can confirm this is indeed an Excel 2013 workbook in which the unused columns and rows have been hidden and the headings display has been turned off. I receive workbooks like this occasionally; evidently some Excel users format their workbooks in this manner because:

* They like this clean, simpler look and feel.

* They like to hide columns and rows that contain calculations so users will be less tempted to alter those calculations.

* They apparently believe this format compels the reader to focus on the workbook's report area--and not the underlying assumptions and calculations.

I'm not a fan of this type of modification because it handcuffs the user; I'd rather receive an Excel workbook that I can immediately edit or alter, if necessary. …

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