7 Golden Rules for your Data Sheet - dbrownconsulting consulting

7 Golden Rules for your Data Sheet

David Brown
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IMPORTANT: Having clean data must be your priority if you intend to carry out a lot of analysis or you intend to automate your reports. Spend the time required to educate those in charge of your data to always follow the 7 rules when preparing, storing and retrieving data.

1. One Row of Headings

Each column must have a descriptive heading typed out in the first row.

2. No Empty Rows

You must have content in at least one cell of each row. Never have a completely empty row.

3. No Empty Columns

Just as above. You should never have a completely empty column

Note: If you have headings for each column then this means you do not have any empty columns.

4. No obstructions around your data

DO NOT type comments at the end of your data or insert a total row at the bottom, or type something directly above your headings. All these examples are obstructions that break the rule.

5. All Dates must be in a Single Column

Note: Dates are arguably the most important field in your data, they must be entered vertically (each record/each row, must have a date). If this rule is broken, you will be unable to automatically create reports by month, quarter and year or take advantage of date intelligence calculations in Power Pivot.

6. Every Unique Data must have its own Column

e.g. You cannot have a column containing department names as well as dealer names.

Each of these data types must have their own columns.

7. No Totals or Subtotals anywhere in your Table

Totals and subtotals are for your report sheet, they have absolutely no place in your data sheet.

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data sheet

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About the Author

David Brown

David Brown has spent more than 20 years mastering data analysis and financial modeling. Since founding dbrownconsulting in 2006, Brown has advised worldwide clientele on how to build and operate their own robust analytic systems alongside his team. As a member of the ICAN Accountability Index, Brown was part of the team that localized the PEFA Framework to Nigeria. Brown also runs one of the country’s largest e-learning platforms. He was awarded the MVP designation on the Microsoft Data Platform, is an international consultant with the World Bank, and is an Accredited Master Trainer & Master Instructional Designer with the Association of Talent Development. He is also passionate about training individuals, and has trained over 20,000 people for free on both Excel and analytics. When he’s not knee-deep in the Data Platform or helping a new trainee, you can find him taking his motorbike for a spin.