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  #71  
Old 10-23-2008, 02:59 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Article on spreadsheet interfaces is up: The End Users Justify the Means, part 1
http://soa.org/library/newsletters/c...2008-iss29.pdf

(also a reprinted article)

In separate publishing news, I have an article in The Stepping Stone on podcasts and free online content from business schools.
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Last edited by campbell; 10-23-2008 at 03:00 PM.. Reason: you've got your HTML in my BBcode!
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  #72  
Old 03-04-2009, 03:28 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Do you have a coding buddy?
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001229.html

There's also a good code/bad code metric seen.

Quote:
I don't think anyone disputes the value of having another pair of eyes on your code, but there's a sort of institutional inertia that prevents it from happening in a lot of shops. In the chapter titled A Little Help from Your Friends (pdf), Karl explains:

" Busy practitioners are sometimes reluctant to spend time examining a colleague's work. You might be leery of a coworker who asks you to review his code. Does he lack confidence? Does he want you to do his thinking for him? "Anyone who needs his code reviewed shouldn't be getting paid as a software developer," scoff some review resisters.

" In a healthy software engineering culture, team members engage their peers to improve the quality of their work and increase their productivity. They understand that the time they spend looking at a colleague's work product is repaid when other team members examine their own deliverables. The best software engineers I have known actively sought out reviewers. Indeed, the input from many reviewers over their careers was part of what made these developers the best. "
Could help with a lot of spreadsheets, too.
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  #73  
Old 03-04-2009, 05:17 PM
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I love the cartoon.
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  #74  
Old 04-27-2009, 07:24 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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For Whom Excel Tolls

http://db.riskwaters.com/public/show...ml?page=850218

Operational risks of spreadsheets

Quote:
The operational risk issues posed by Microsoft Excel have been known for several years, but the financial crisis has forced firms to sit up and take notice. By John Beck

It is no exaggeration to say that Wall Street and The City of London would grind to a halt without Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet software is a ubiquitous presence in almost every workplace and at key points in every business cycle. However, a widespread focus on reporting requirements and transparency has drawn renewed attention to the flaws and potential operational risks posed by spreadsheet use within the financial markets.
....
Operational risk issues plague spreadsheet usage. Excel has become a standard method of inter-business communication, holding a great deal of the information going in and out of an organization. However, when a spreadsheet model that has been created using data from a corporate system is passed on to a third party, it becomes very difficult to track or control who is seeing that view of the firm's system. "People sometimes inadvertently provide information within word processing documents through the inappropriate use of tracked changes, commenting and mark-up," says Richard Edwards, information management practice director with UK IT research firm Butler Group. "But the dangers potentially exposed by doing that are non-existent compared to letting a spreadsheet loose beyond the corporate firewall," he adds.

A typical spreadsheet is vulnerable to numerous other risks. An end user can easily overwrite a critical formula or cut and paste figures into the wrong place without leaving any trace of their actions. Beyond simple mistakes, the combination of formulas, macros and conditional formatting also produces an ideal environment to perpetrate fraud.

Other operational risk issues can also arise. An automatically updating data feed may drop out unnoticed, leaving stale data or a fixed figure going forward. Moreover, the potential for multiple, concurrent versions to exist at any one time can lead to uncertainty over which is the most up to date. Cluster Seven estimates that 90 percent of spreadsheets have errors in them. When the huge sums of money that are calculated using Excel are factored in, the potential costs of a simple mistake could be astronomical.
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  #75  
Old 05-01-2009, 10:54 AM
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Not exactly about spreadsheet errors, but I have an article titled: "The End Users Justify the Means IV: The Search for Problems" in the April CompAct:
http://soa.org/library/newsletters/c...2009-iss31.pdf

Quote:
Ah yes, our friends the auditors and testers, looking
for where we screwed up in our work. Our
favorite end users of our spreadsheets, huh?
Fittingly, this installment in my series of articles
on spreadsheet structuring and design will be the
shortest, as the goal in dealing with this particular set
of end users is this: To spend as little time as possible
with them.


Time spent with an auditor is definitely not productive,
as necessary as it may be, and the time spent with a
tester is mainly a function of how much one has messed
up one’s spreadsheets. Productive time can be spent
with testers, but ideally you want to hear little more
than, “Yeah, looks good to me.”
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  #76  
Old 05-01-2009, 11:10 AM
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Thanks, MaryPat.

BTW, people can also read my philosophical essay on that same link. Quantum computing, anyone?
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  #77  
Old 05-01-2009, 11:15 AM
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Yes, I would encourage everyone to check out CompAct each quarter. Howard Callif (editor) and the other members of the Technology section are doing a great job with it.
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  #78  
Old 06-15-2009, 02:35 PM
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Understanding spreadsheet risks
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/cgi-b...&h=1021&f=1026

Quote:
Top 10 tips for addressing the risk

1. Define the objectives of what you’re trying to achieve. For example, are you trying to mitigate operational risk or to comply with specific legislation?

2. Define a starting point: this could be a business unit or function that you want to review.

3. Build an inventory of the spreadsheets in use within your firm. Do you know who manages them? How reliable are their calculations? Who ensures the results they produce are valid?

4. Focus on risk: take a risk-based approach and look carefully at the parts of the business that place most reliance on spreadsheets.

5. Perform a risk assessment: spreadsheet risk should be considered in terms of the likelihood of an error occurring and the impact of an error on the organisation.

6. Focus on the process: consider if there are mitigating controls within the business processes in which the spreadsheets are used that would detect errors should they arise.

7. Identify controls: define an appropriate spreadsheet control framework that documents minim standards, idenifies risks and controls and provides a regular review mechanism.

8. Establish a baseline by assessing each spreadsheet's functionality - there is little point in controlling a spreadsheet that is not working in the first place.

9: Implement Policies and Procedures: Training programmes and monitoring processes will be required to achieve compliance.

10: Maintain: Ensure that the controls put in place can be relied upon going forward.
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  #79  
Old 06-16-2009, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
8. Establish a baseline by assessing each spreadsheet's functionality - there is little point in controlling a spreadsheet that is not working in the first place.
!
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Spoiler:
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And def agree w/ JMO.
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This. And everything else JMO wrote.
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Yup, it is always someone else's fault.
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Originally Posted by Bro View Post
I recommend you get perspective.
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  #80  
Old 06-16-2009, 08:59 AM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Well, it was from a magazine for accountants....
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