ITGS Syllabus

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Topic 70

Special-purpose spreadsheets, for example, inventory, budget by Dhruv

A spreadsheet is a table of values arranged in rows and columns. Each value can have a predefined relationship to the other values. If you change one value, therefore, you may need to change other values as well. This is like changing total returns on bank savings after changing the interest rate received.

‘Spreadsheet applications’ (sometimes referred to simply as spreadsheets) are computer programs that let you create and manipulate spreadsheets electronically. In a spreadsheet application, each value sits in a cell. You can define what type of data is in each cell and how different cells depend on one another. The relationships between cells are called formulas, and the names of the cells are called labels.

I’m sure that at some point or another you have used excel for something. Practice in computer class, computing a science lab etc. You input values into the spreadsheet. Once you have defined the cells and the formulas for linking them together, you can enter your data. You can then modify selected values to see how all the other values change accordingly. This enables you to study various what-if scenarios. Going back to my earlier example, you could see what returns you’d get from different interest rates on a loan to a bank.

Specifically now, an inventory is ‘a detailed list of all the items in stock’. It follows that an inventory spreadsheet is a spreadsheet that would keep track of all the items in stock, there cost, possible selling price, maintenance payments and so on. These would just be the tip of the iceberg. The spreadsheet would allow companies to divide costs up between staff, lights, electricity etc. This would allow the firm to calculate cost and revenues for there inventories in the future and maintain a record of there past inventories. The firm would then be able to see how a change in any of the variables would affect there business. A key resource for companies as it provides an easy way to keep track of all the transactions that can and will occur. An inventory spreadsheet is much like a normal spreadsheet with some special functions and characteristics that benefit use by firms and other inventory keepers.

Secondly, a ‘budget’ is a summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them; "the president submitted the annual budget to Congress”. It follows that a budget spreadsheet allows for easier data collection and processing for budget makers such as governments. Even individual firms, for that matter, any accountant, would use budget sheets. This would enable them to enter expenditure and revenue data in several forms. Being a budget spreadsheet, it would have many functions and characteristics making it conducive for budgeting purpose. Such as, maybe a program that predicts how a change in economic conditions would affect revenue.

Essentially, the same things, the special kinds of spreadsheets are just variations of the basic form spreadsheet geared toward a specific type of data collection and processing. An inventory spreadsheet makes it easier to work with inventories and the same goes for budgetary spreadsheets. Inventory and Budget are only two kinds of special spreadsheets. It is important to know that spreadsheets that assist in the processing of scientific lab data etc. exist. Specialized data processing in any field/work requires special purpose spreadsheets to make things simpler for the person dealing with the data.


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