The Commandments constitute a standardised best practice approach to using spreadsheets.
In almost any field it is more efficient to use a standardised approach to deliver the desired end product, from manufacturing to accounting, from education to the armed forces; standardised approaches equal efficiency gains. In simple sense, efficiency gains are cost savings.
Spreadsheets are the now ubiquitous decision support weapon of choice, from standing behind million or billion dollar transactions to setting trillion yen budgets. Yet there is no one commonly adopted best practice standard to adhere to when building, maintaining or using a spreadsheet tool.
Prophecy have developed the Commandments as an easily implemented series of the do’s and don’t's of best practice spreadsheet modelling.
The Commandments are best thought of in terms of the four C’s:
- Clarity – the planning process from inception to execution and implications for structure
- Content – separating assumptions and outputs; from functions and formulae to hyperlinks and pivot tables
- Control – taking charge of the spreadsheet: control and protect
- Communication – giving the user as much helpful information as possible
Implementing the Commandments, even just some of them, helps deliver a spreadsheet that is:
These are the hallmark characteristics of a best practice spreadsheet and drive:
- Reduced development times
- Reduced process (in use) times
- Reduced incidence of error
- Reduced key person dependency
- Increased efficiency
- Increased user acceptance
- Increased spreadsheet longevity
- Reduced audit costs