Reporting Scenarios using Offset
Project Managers often report financial numbers to the management. In a dynamic world, these numbers are usually based on a lot of factors that may or may not be under your control. So the top management demands that the numbers be reported as per different economic scenarios – Optimistic, Normal or Pessimistic.
It is important to report and present the numbers in a usable format to the top management. They should be able to toggle the scenarios comfortably and see the results. Offset function comes to your rescue to ensure a great looking model with the flexibility of reporting multiple scenarios.
What is the offset function?
A few months back, I had written about the offset function and how it can be used to create flexible models. I had discussed at that point of time, why offset function is one of the most versatile functions and at the same point of time quite dangerous as well.
In this tutorial, we would see another usage (I feel simpler than last time!) of the offset function
If I were to borrow the signature of the function from my last post, the offset function reads something like: Offset( range, rows, columns, height, width )
I will use a similar example, but change the usage of the function a little bit!
So in the illustrated example, it starts from the C3 cell, moves 1 rows and 3 columns and then gives the value (15 in this case)!
This time Offset is NOT returning an array. It is returning a single value!
So how can this be useful?
The offset function can move the reference of the cell by n rows and m columns. That means that if I structure the sheet with different economic possibilities in different rows, I can always move the scenarios using offset function.
How was this achieved?
Step 1: The layout of the sheet helps me achieve this objective very easily. The first part of the sheet to select the scenarios is achieved using form controls
Step 2: The Scenarios are listed in sequential order, one after the other and the form control (combo box in this case) is linked to the name of the scenarios.
Step 3: Depending on the scenario selected, the index number of the selection changes. This number is fed into the growth rate and cost selection using the offset function.
Step 4: The model is linked to the selected scenario to report the P&L figures
As I told you, offset function is quite versatile in nature and can help you achieve a lot of flexibility in your model
From your PM career you would have known that preparing a nice looking report as important (if not more) as generating correct results! In our scenario selection model, we highlight the selected scenario (the pink colored row) to give clarity to the end user. This is achieved using
Step A: A simple formula in conditional formatting and
Step B: Then using the $ referencing intelligently.
What functions do you use in reporting?
I am sure that if you are generating flexible reports and dashboards for reporting, you would be using some interesting functions and tools in Excel. I use Offset, Index, Match, Indirect, Mod. Which ones do you use?
Templates to download
I have created a template for you, where the subheadings are given and you have to link the model! You can download the same from here. You can go through the case and fill in the yellow boxes. I also recommend that you try to create this structure on your own (so that you get a hang of what information is to be recorded).
Also you can download this filled template and check, if the information you recorded, matches mine or not!
Chandoo and I are running a course on Excel for Project Managers to share with you the various tools and techniques in Excel that can make you an awesome Project Manager. We comprehensively cover aspects related to Planning, Tracking and Reporting apart from Basics of Finance and Advanced Techniques like Monte Carlo Simulation in Project Management in the course. If you are interested in learning more about the course, you can click here.
For any queries regarding the using Excel for Project Management, feel free to put the comments in the blog or write an email to email@example.com
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