{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Ever had a project where a key piece of analysis was misleading/wrong the whole time because of an Excel formula mistake? As an analyst, that's my biggest fear 😐", "post_id": "590ac093cce0de0010572170", "reply_count": 21, "vote_count": 7, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Ever had a project where a key piece of analysis was misleading/wrong the whole time because of an Excel formula mistake? As an analyst, that's my biggest fear 😐

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Why not use index match? Don't fuck up your entire analysis every time someone adds/deletes/moves a column

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Make sure the numbers always tie. Keep track of what you're doing at a more abstract level. Never use VLOOKUP.

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A3 just kicked my puppy...Vlookup is my jam!

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Honestly I would be more concerned with the underlying assumptions and thesis of a project than any single number. I've had to revise numbers before on big projects because of errors and at the end if the day I was taught that being honest and straightforward will always work out better than trying to cover it up. Definitely keep that fear though because the paranoia drives you to double check which is important

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A1- life is too short. Let it go.

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VLOOKUP is just fine - provided you check and double check what it's actually doing.

My biggest faux pas was using an input client spreadsheet that was large, but not overly complex formula-wise, which had been created in a previous project phase by another third party consultancy. For some reason, the author hadn't used SUM on some totals, opting for A+B+C etc. They'd missed some of those totals when using the product in downstream calculations.

I get paranoid about my more sophisticated sheets!

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D1: I was being ironic and pointing out that people loading formulas with absolute references suck! I'm a named ranges guy myself....

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Yes. We fixed it and were fine, though I remain pissed as all hell at the kid who made the mistake.

This is why we have QC measures like check totals, parallel processes, etc.

The easiest way to overcome this feeling is two folds:
(1) creating a detailed and evolving QC process and adhering to it
(2) deep understanding of the business problem and underlying assumptions which increase your likelihood to catch mistakes

Good luck!

And also, dont forget this has happened to the best of us

I had a formula error once due to copy paste wonkiness that really screwed up our budget forecast for a project with a tight budget. I felt awful. It wasn't the only reason we had to move things around, but it definitely contributed.

.... you don't realize the power of the $ side ......

A4, how's that dollar sign going to help the number you use for your 3rd input in vlookup?

Mistakes happen.They are found because the numbers look suspicious though. If you have really made a mistake the answer probably won't be what you thought, don't just go with, figure out why the answer looks that way. Because the model says so is not a good answer...

Fair. My #1 rule for both excel and VBA is to never use absolute references

VLOOKUP should be a sackable offence.

D1 gets it! And I love named ranges too

@OP - your fear means you care, and that's awesome. Remember, no one dies if a number is wrong. There should be more than 1analyst number used to make these kinds of decisions, or the decision isn't really that important. We've all made a mistake here and there.

Why aren't people using R/Pandas? Smh

BAH 2, why are you using R for everything? No need to overengineer an analysis just to save ~2-3 seconds of computing time. I'd only use R if I had enough data to justify it.

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