Before you analyze data, you should profile it.
Otherwise, your analysis may not be too broad, too narrow, or you may miss some important insights or errors.
This post is part of the Excel: Basic Data Analytic series.
Data profiling is developing a profile of your data, just as facial profiles of a person, taken from various angles, helps you size up a person’s nose, identify whether his chin is sagging, and how far apart the person’s eyes are.
Whether you script your projects or use menu commands, you need to review your ACL log carefully.
Good analysts review their results and the log as they work in ACL, after they think they are done, and have others review their log before the ACL project is relied upon.
(You can’t imagine the dumb mistakes my team and I found that saved us a lot of embarrassment later.)
Here’s a list of my basic data analytic procedures for Excel.
As I add more posts to the series, I’ll update this list.
I created this series because:
1) I often get asked by new AND EXPERIENCED auditors how to do these tasks,
2) when I review workpapers, I realize too many auditors are not aware of these functions,
Excel’s Text to Columns function allows you to separate pieces of data in a single column into multiple columns.
This function helps when key data is buried in a field with other information and you need to extract the key data into a separate column before you can analyze it.
For example, you obtain a list of email addresses, and all you want are the user IDs. Or you get a list of servers, and the server name is server.domain.com, and you need just the “server” name. Or you need to separate LastName, First Name into separate columns. That’s where Text to Columns saves the day.
This article is the fourth post in the Excel basic data analytic series.
To identify unique values in an Excel table, follow the steps below.
This article is the third post in the Excel basic data analytic series, which starts here.
The steps for identifying unique values are similar to identifying duplicates. The first difference shows up in step 3 below.
While the previous post in this series described how to remove duplicate values in Excel, this post describes how to identify duplicates.
The remove duplicates function doesn’t tell you which values are duplicates, it just removes them. Sometimes you need a list of the duplicates so you can review them in detail or include them in your workpapers.
So we’ll look at how to create a list of duplicates across all values/columns and in specific columns.
To remove duplicate values in Excel, follow the steps below.
This is the first post in a series of basic data analytic procedures using Excel. If you work with data regularly, these procedures will help you understand your data better and analyze it faster.
I started this series because I am asked how to do these tasks, sometimes by experienced contractors and auditors.
Do you perform appropriate population validation of the data you rely on in an audit?
Population validation is simply gaining confidence that the data you are using in your audit contains all the appropriate data for your audit objectives (e.g., your server list includes all the SOX servers).
For the difference between population validation and data validation, see Why You Must Validate Data.
So how do you do population validation? Let’s look at an example…
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