Excel functions · Tips and tricks

Compared to What?


Comparative financial reports are a cinch in XLstatements, but here are a few tricks and tips.

If you are comparing more than two ledgers, consider using the LedgerIDs in the same columns as their formulas and referring to them using a relative column and absolute row. Refer to the previous post on consolidations for examples using CpnyID, as the same technique can be used for LedgerID. (It’s also useful with other arguments like SubAcct and Pd.)

It’s common for a financial report to show differences (changes) and also those differences as percentages.


Here we can see the difference from budget, which in cell E7, is just the formula =C7-D7. Cell F7 is selected, and you can see its formula in the formula bar: =IF(D7=0,””,E7/ABS(D7)). That formula is doing two things. Firstly, we do not want to see #DIV/0! where the budgeted value was zero, e.g., for the Supplies and Leaseholds rows in the above example. That’s what the IF part of the formula is handling. We chose to make the percentage blank (“”, not zero) where there was no budget amount, because any number divided by zero is undefined (hence the error without our IF). A blank percentage rather than zero shows that the percentage is not available. The other tip here is to use the absolute value (ABS) of the denominator. By doing that, we ensure that we are not dividing a negative number by another negative number and returning a positive result. If we had just divided the difference by the budget (E8/D8) for cell F8 on the Due from Subsidiaries row, that would have given 27%. The difference, though, is a negative number, so we want the percentage to also be negative. Using ABS accomplishes this, and rather simply.


One thought on “Compared to What?

  1. This tip was very useful for me! It cleaned up our financials and gave them and much more friendly appearance! I hated seeing DIV/O!


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