What’s Your Favorite Spreadsheet Function?

Is it SUMIF? VLOOKUP? Or something else? In honor of our recent launch of Workday Worksheets and spreadsheet fans everywhere, we asked finance practitioners what their favorite spreadsheet function is and why. Here’s what they had to say.

In the world of corporate finance, spreadsheets are core. Whether it’s managing a profit and loss statement or developing financial and headcount plans, spreadsheets are a daily part of a corporate finance professional’s job.

That’s why as part of Workday Planning, we introduced Workday Worksheets—a cloud-based, collaborative spreadsheet built directly into the core of Workday’s technology platform. Unlike traditional spreadsheets, users can collaborate using live data that resides in a secure enterprise environment, removing many of the headaches and security risks that exist today. At the same time, Worksheets still provides the look, feel, and functionality of spreadsheets loved by many finance professionals, supporting approximately 500 functions.

In honor of the Worksheets launch and spreadsheet fans everywhere, we asked finance practitioners at Workday and our customers and partners what their favorite spreadsheet function is and why. Here’s what they had to say:

Robynne Sisco, CFO, Workday

“SUMIF is my favorite spreadsheet function. I find the ability to sum only certain numbers in a column if they meet certain criteria fascinating. I use it all the time because I love spreadsheets—it’s part of the core of who I am. In fact, I reconcile my bank account every day in a spreadsheet and use the SUMIF function to weed out the outstanding payments.”

Ritish Thalla, Manager, Workday Financials, PwC

“#N/A. #VALUE!. #REF!. #DIV/0!. #NUM!. #NULL. These results are all too familiar when working with complex spreadsheet formulas. I always want my worksheets to look clean, and prior to IFERROR, eliminating any of these types of errors would result in a tangled mess of nested IF statements. With so many potential errors, I end up using IFERROR in most of my formulas, so I can cleanly hide these errors while waiting for more inputs and avoid additional errors in cells that reference my error. Problem solved!”

Trish Coughlin, Vice President, Corporate Controller, Workday

“My favorite spreadsheet function is IF. It is very versatile; it can be combined with other functions, such as VLOOKUP or SUMIF, to not only return data but to apply a condition to that data to make it instantly more useful in whatever analysis I’m working on.”

Alan Cole, Vice President and Controller, Ensono

“My favorite spreadsheet function is SUMIF. It allows me to easily pull out and report on specific data contained within an array of values. Based upon the criteria I set, I am able to find and sum up the values I need to report out on.”

Ashley Brown, Senior Director, Global Revenue Recognition, Workday

“I use spreadsheets every day and love them for all the basic functions and for the organizational aspect of showing data.  Pivot tables are great, but my favorite feature is probably the simple function of filtering data and being able to easily view sub-populations and slice and dice data accordingly.”

Bobby Riggs, Chief Financial Officer, Collaborative Solutions

“Here are a couple of my favorites: The VLOOKUP formula quickly pulls related values into a report from another data set and is a finance practitioner’s go-to formula for retrieving data from another table. Also, the multiple and nested IF functions enable us to build programming into our spreadsheets and allow us to evaluate many different scenarios, helping create a budget or forecast that’s more responsive, flexible, and effective.”

Barbara Larson, Vice President, Corporate Finance, Workday

“My favorite and most-used spreadsheet function is VLOOKUP, which searches for a value in the first column of a table array and returns a value in the same row from another column in the table array.  I use this function all the time because of the ability to make connections between two sets of data using one common column.”

What’s your favorite function?

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