Sum highlights for you


Q: I was disappointed to find that Excel’s AutoSum tool produced an error in my workbook, which I did not catch until it was too late. The problem resulted when I highlighted row 15 (as pictured below), and then clicked the AutoSum tool to insert formula totals at the bottom of each column.

Because cell B3 was empty, the AutoSum tool detected data only in rows 4 through 14 and inserted erroneous total formulas, which did not include the data from rows 2 and 3. This error was embarrassing. Is there a way to use the AutoSum tool so that it doesn’t make this kind of error?

A: In your example, you left it up to Excel’s AutoSum tool to guess the range you wanted to sum, and as you pointed out, the results contained formula errors. In the future, you can force the AutoSum tool to select the correct sum range every time by highlighting the data range to be summed and then clicking the AutoSum tool located in the Editing group on the Home tab.



News quiz: College debt, stolen identities, and retirement planning

See how much you know about these developments and others in the Journal of Accountancy news quiz.


Preventing and detecting fraud at not-for-profits

Organizations in all industries must deal with the potential for fraud to occur, and design controls to prevent and detect it. Environment, policies, and controls can help organizations steer clear of problems.


The dangers of dabbling

To meet evolving marketplace needs, CPAs often look to diversify their service offerings. Firms can mitigate the risk of experiencing competency-related professional liability claims by implementing these basic steps.