For You Nerds

In my job I do some accounting type work.  I have very little background in accounting, but have deeeeeep roots in Excel and data management.  So the job was a decent match for my skills and I took it.

Since taking this job, my laptop issued to me has acted horribly.  In the last 15 months I have had a total of 3.  The current one will just shut off at random intervals, and I have figured that there are some clocking issues going on.  An example:  a spreadsheet that my quad core processor takes 20 minutes to calculate takes only about 5 minutes on a dual core that I have at home.  And it is when I have demand on the processor that it “randomly” shuts off (leaving me in the lurch when I need uptime the most).

As a last ditch effort with the vendor, I have asked for a complete replacement of a preloaded laptop.  This machine arrived on Monday, but I have been unable to finish configuring it for my work.  Until today.

Yesterday I spent about 3 hours struggling with a budget spreadsheet.  The issue, without getting into too much boring detail, was that I was trying to layer in a change order to increase the budget to 618k.  The top line on the budget workbook (under 1mb in size) kept calculating a number around 654k.  I knew this wasn’t right because of my own manual calculations, and presumed that I had an error elsewhere (which I spent that 3 hours trying to debug).

Finally, at about 6pm last night I gave up and went home.  This is very unusual for me, as I am generally outstanding with Microsoft Excel, and the calculations that go into this budgeting workbook.  Spent the night simmering, trying to work through in my head what had happened, where the error was.  The thought of scrapping and starting from the beginning….that just wasn’t going to happen.

When I return to work this morning, my laptop (which i left in my office out of disgust last night) had restarted.  This forced me to reopen the workbook that I was fighting with the night before. 

Magically, when I looked at the top line, it reflect 618k.  It balanced, with only a -1 cent difference due to rounding issues (typical with such large sums of cash). 

How did this happen?  Should I believe in magic?

The best I can figure is that the sheet was not recalculating.  I haven’t yet checked to see if it is a known issue with Excel.  But this isn’t the first such issue.  I have another budget workbook (for a separate budget detail) that has had to be recoded entirely because it just started making wild cell references when calculating the “sumif” formulas on the front page (sending references into other workbooks that are wholly unrelated).

Is this at all interesting?  Absolutely not.  At least, not unless you are me, and had the last 24 hours that I have had.  🙂


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