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When using Excel for client work, how do you see your role?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Peter Bartholomew, Aug 19, 2018.


When using Excel for client work, do you think of yourself as:

Poll closed Sep 9, 2018.
  1. An author who is writing an Excel document for the client to work with

    0 vote(s)
  2. A developer who is creating a solution or app for the client

  3. It varies depending on the terms of the contract

  1. Peter Bartholomew

    Peter Bartholomew Well-Known Member

    One possibility is as an author who is writing an Excel document in partnership with the client, for them to work with and modify to meet their future needs. In this scenario, the deliverable is a document the spreadsheet techniques used should be those the client understands so that they can check the formulae and further modify them. The spreadsheet syntax is the language of communication between supplier and client.

    Another possibility is as developer who is creating a solution [to a specific problem] or app [applicable to a class of problem] that just happens to be built using an Excel as an IT platform. In this scenario, you are the developer tasked to produce a solution and it is likely that the client lacks the time or ability to perform the task for themselves. Provided suitable V&V is in place, there is no requirement for the client to be able to read an Excel formula or understand the grid or spreadsheet referencing. The client need only see a user interface specific the their problem and have confidence in the results.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  2. Chihiro

    Chihiro Excel Ninja

    Depends on contract and what's needed by client.

    But I mostly use Excel for initial analysis, ad-hoc reporting and for proof of concept. I usually end up building final product using other tools (PowerBI, AMCharts, NextReports, SQL DB etc). Since most clients want clould/server based solution accessible from mobile device these days.

    Though small business clients do tend to go for Excel based solution (unless they are tech oriented company), due to cost being a major factor in their decision making process.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  3. Peter Bartholomew

    Peter Bartholomew Well-Known Member

    Since your delivered products appear to be highly sophisticated in terms of their IT content, I assume the clients do not expect to 'check the sums' formula by formula and do not dictate the techniques you may or may not use.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.
  4. Chihiro

    Chihiro Excel Ninja

    Not really. I'm just jack-of-all-trades. Having spent most of my career working at/with entrepreneurial companies.

    As for 'check the sums'... I provide minimum of two different methods to arrive at same result, and ensure numbers add up horizontally and vertically (along with method to obtain raw data for manual check). And I do document all assumptions, calculation logic and query methods for clients.

    I've audited my share of various automation, but yet to find system that gave 100% correct result all the time. There is always some error that will creep into the system at some point.

    So, no matter what the solution I provide, I always recommend monthly validation. And updating business assumptions on regular basis.
    ThrottleWorks likes this.

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