Xcellerator Helps Manager Confirm Intricate Web of Data in Inherited Spreadsheets

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The Company

This privately-held construction management firm has several offices located throughout the United States. Its projects are extensive in scope and range from hotels and event centers to business centers and hospitals.

The Challenge

Years ago, when a senior manager inherited several spreadsheets for a client project, he instinctively knew some of the data was incorrect but couldn’t pinpoint the issues. Unfortunately, the previous manager had left the company so there was no available history about the spreadsheets. In the end, it took this senior manager six weeks to completely review the details, make corrections and “work out the bugs.”

Today, this manager oversees more than 25 outside consultants and “deals with lots of numbers” for public projects. His responsibilities include reviewing extremely detailed budget spreadsheets and scenario estimates for each of 26 locations. Not only are the budget and scenario estimate spreadsheets linked together but each one is linked to its own summary overview spreadsheet, so any mistake in the data could play a significant part in the “go/no go” results for a project. Final numbers are provided to regional executives for review and then a third-party organization presents the data to the public for bond voting.

“I have an obligation to my boss, my company and the public to make sure that the information I supply is accurate as well as provide transparency as to how these numbers came to be,” the manager said.

Therefore, each spreadsheet must be studied in detail for errors. Once the error review process is finished, the information is “rolled up” into master detailed and master summary spreadsheets which are presented by a company executive to the client. Checking and rechecking costs a minimum of 8 hours per spreadsheet because of the intricate web of data flowing between them.

Why Incisive Solutions?

From his first experience with inherited spreadsheets, this senior project manager knew a cell-by-cell checking method wasn’t in the best interest of the company and that spreadsheets created by others weren’t always reliable. He chose Xcellerator to help review his spreadsheets and found that it easily handled extremely large and complicated spreadsheets, spreadsheets dependent upon other spreadsheets and workbooks with multiple tabs.

The Results

Xcellerator reduced his review time from 8 hours to a mere 15 minutes per spreadsheet. The reliability and thoroughness of Xcellerator has helped make this manager more efficient throughout his projects.

The manager also noticed a productivity boost when Xcellerator highlighted questionable cells in different colors with the type of error the cell may have. Xcellerator helped him answer questions such as: Are the operational functions correct? Are they pulling the correct information from the correct spreadsheet? Using Xcellerator, the manager developed a structured process for reviewing spreadsheets.

Now, every time this manager creates a spreadsheet or receives one from a colleague, he first uses Xcellerator to scan the data. While he doesn’t expect errors, this procedure gives him assurance that the information presented to clients is correct. “Life happens, people leave the company or get too busy and they forget to take time to check their work. Especially when I don’t know how they created the information, I must confirm it’s correct for the benefit of my company and my client. Xcellerator assures me that the information I present is accurate.”