Excel reader challenge


In the August 2013 JofA, I challenged readers to solve an Excel problem in which a preformatted report fetched an ever-changing last row of data. We received well over 200 solutions from a group of Excel-savvy CPAs. Though each solution was different, all of them worked properly and employed a wide range of creative and imaginative approaches to solving the problem. In summary, the readers employed eight basic approaches, with VLOOKUP being the most popular approach (used by 31.3% of the respondents), followed by the INDEX approach (used by 29.3% of the respondents). The approaches I identified (and their frequency of use) are summarized in the chart below.


The solutions submitted showcase the ingenuity and industriousness of this column’s readership, and while everyone who submitted an entry deserves recognition, I identified the solutions submitted by Michael Inouye, Laura Douglas, Larry Moseley, Robert Loudon, Trisha Allen, Brian Carle, and Benjamin Brenner as being especially noteworthy because they were efficiently written, contained clever formulas, and taught me things about Excel that I did not previously know. To view a more detailed summary of the submitted solutions, and to download more than 70 of these solutions (including the solutions from the seven individuals mentioned above), visit tinyurl.com/n56bphh.

J. Carlton Collins ( carlton@asaresearch.com ) is a technology consultant, CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.


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