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Posts Tagged ‘Guest Blogger’

Excel Financial Functions–Calculating IRR for Irregular Cashflows

This week, in the final article of this series, guest blogger Nick Williams discusses calculating the Internal Rate of Return for an irregular cashflow. Nick is an Access tutor based in the U.K.

XIRR – Internal Rate Of Return

XIRR function returns the value for an Internal Rate Of Return for a supplied series of cash flows, set of values. The key difference between IRR and XIRR is that XIRR can deal with cashflows that aren’t evenly spaced. Because it can deal with cashflows that aren’t evenly spaced you need to tell is both the series of cashflows and also the dates of each cashflow.

The syntax of the XIRR function in Excel is XIRR (values, dates, [guess])

values is a required parameter. It is an array or reference to a set of cells that contain the cash flow values.

dates is another required parameter, it is a series of dates. You need to have a date that corresponds to each cash flow for the calculation to run. The first date is the date of the investment/loan, and subsequent dates refer to income values.

guess is an optional parameter, and works as it does for IRR. Again, if this parameter is omitted, it is set to 0.1 (10%) by default

Continuing with our previous example, let’s introduce dates into our cash flow set.

We now have dates for the initial investment, and irregular dates of actual and/or forecasted income over the seven years of the project.

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As we would expect, as the returns come sooner on this project the return on it has gone up, when compared with our previous calculation.

If we entered dates that were exactly one year apart for each of the cashflows this would give an answer of 1.82%, the same answer as using the IRR function.

Again continuing with our previous example, lets we add more expected income and periods. Again as the returns come sooner the return on the project has increased when compared to have all of the cashflows spaced exactly one year apart.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CALCULATION RETURNS #num!

Microsoft Excel uses an iterative technique for calculating IRR AND XIRR starting from guess. If XIRR can’t find a result that works after 100 tries/iterations, the #NUM! error value is returned. If this happens, or if the result is not what you expected to see, try again with setting a different value for guess.

#NUM! error can also appear if:

1. there isn’t at least one positive and at least one negative value in the list of cashflows

2. any of the specified dates precede the first specified date

3. the specified dates and values arrays have different lengths

XIRR can also return a #VALUE! error if it cannot not recognize any of the specified dates as dates (e.g. you have the value of 20 among your dates array)

Excel Financial Functions–Calculating IRR

This week, guest blogger Nick Williams discusses calculating the Internal Rate of Return for a regular cashflow. Nick is an Access tutor based in the U.K.

IRR – Internal Rate Of Return

IRR returns an interest rate. It is the interest rate that would need to be applied to all of the cashflows in the calculation to give an NPV of zero for the project (see above). In short it tells you the return on the money invested in a project and is often used as an investment decision tool. It is designed to work with a set of regularly spaced cashflows only.

IRR is the same as interest rate of savings or loan, however there is it applied to a very straight forward situation.

The syntax of the IRR function in Excel is IRR(values, [guess])

values is a required parameter. It is an array or reference to a set of cells that contain the cash flow values for the project.

guess is an optional parameter. It is a number that you are guessing is close to the result of IRR. If this parameter is omitted, it is set to 0.1 (10%) by default.

Continuing with our example of above we can see the function in use below.

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Intuitively we know that that is right. Above we discovered that the project had a negative NPV if we applied a 3% discount rate. Therefore we knew that the discount rate to get an NPV of zero had to be below 3%.

Again, as above, lets add two more years of income and see what happens to the result. We got a positive NPV using a 3% rate before so we know that the answer will be above 3% before we start.

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Note: Microsoft Excel uses an iterative technique for calculating IRR starting from guess. If IRR can’t find a result that works after 20 tries/iterations, the #NUM! error value is returned. If this happens, or if the result is not what you expected to see, try again with setting a different value for guess.

Excel Financial Functions–Calculating NPV

We’d like to welcome back guest blogger Nick Williams. This week and for the next two weeks, Nick will be publishing a series of Excel financial calculation tutorials. Nick is an Access tutor based in the U.K.

One area where Excel is used extensively is in financial forecasting and modeling. It contains lots of financial formulas which can save hours of time.

As ever the trick is to give Excel the right data in the right way … and then let it do the work for you.

In this article we’re going to have a quick look at three of the basic formulas that Excel has in its kit bag IRR, XIRR and NPV.

NPV – Net Present Value

The NPV returns a value amount. You insert all of the forecast cashflows (both investment and return) relating to a project and also your cost of capital. NPV will then tell you if the project will return a ‘profit’. Profit in this context is that it returns more than your cost of capital for the period that your capital is invested. Put the other way round the value of all of the projects future cashflows, today, is greater than nought.

The basis of the calculation is that a pound now is worth more than a pound in future. Your cost of capital (or discount rate) is the difference in value between a pound now and a pound in a year’s time.

To make this clearer a very simple illustration would be:

Imagine you are investing $10 today. You think that it will return $12 in one year’s time. You like to make at least 10% return on your money when it is invested so your cost of capital is 10%.

The net present value of the $12 today is $10.9 (=£11/(1+10%)) so the $12 in one year is worth more than the $10 today, meaning that you should invest as the project will earn you more than the 10% return that you need.

Syntax of the NPV function in Excel is NPV( rate, value1, [value2], [value3], … )

rate is a required parameter and is the discount rate or cost of capital over a single period.

value1, value2,… are values of future income (positive value) and/or payments (negative value). Value 1 is a required parameter and subsequent values are optional. You will need to put a value, even if it is zero, in for each period of the project.

Below is a more complex example. We have a $200,000 investment which returns different amounts each year for seven years.

We put the initial investment in cell B3. Initially we have the forecasted seven years of income in cells B4:B12. The cost of capital or annual discount rate is in cell B2.

After 7 periods our NPV is going to be:

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If we add income for two additional periods, NPV is going to change:

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Web Enabling your Application

Access 2010 now allows you to easily publish your application to the Web for sharing with other users. This process has been simplified by using Microsoft’s SharePoint Online, part of the Office 365 suite, as no local placement of a SharePoint server is needed. When you share the app with others, all they need is a Web browser to work in your Database Application.

Publishing your Application

One of the common uses of Data Macros is to validate data being entered into a record. The following example will stop the creation of a record in the Asset table if the user is trying to add a warranty value if they have not entered an Aquired Date.

Procedure: Publishing your Application

1. Open the Database Application to be published.

2. Select the Backstage View ribbon tab.

3. Click the Save & Publish option and then Publish to Access Server.

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4. Enter the full address of your online SharePoint server. Enter the credentials to the SharePoint site, and click the Publish to Access Services button.

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If successful and Access can publish to the given site, the Web Browser will open and display your published site – distribute the URL to users who need to access the Application via the Web.

This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.

Data Macros

Use Data Macros to add logic to events that happen in Tables, this could be adding records, updating a record or deleting data. Data macros are created and managed from the Table ribbon tab while you are working in the table view. There are two main types of data macros

  • Event Driven, which are those triggered by table events.
  • Named, which run in response to being called by name.

Creating a Data Macro

One of the common uses of Data Macros is to validate data being entered into a record. The following example will stop the creation of a record in the Asset table if the user is trying to add a warranty value if they have not entered an Aquired Date.

Procedure: Create a Data Macro

1. Open into Data Sheet view the Table you are adding the Data Macro to.

2. Select the Table ribbon view tab.

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3. Click in this instance the Before Change button.

4. Within the Macro screen, add the necessary actions you require. This example shows an If program flow

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Add the necessary values

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5. When you have completed the Macro, Save and Close the Data Macro.

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The next time a new or edited record does not meet the validation set, the following message will appear and stop the update of the Record.

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Procedure: Edit a Data Macro

1. Open into Data Sheet view the Table you wish to edit the Data Macro for.

2. Select the Table ribbon view tab. You will notice the Event button will appear yellow if there is already a Data Macro created.

3. Select the relevant Event button and make the necessary changes.

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4. When you have completed the Macro, Save and Close the Data Macro.

Procedure: Delete a Data Macro

1. Open into Data Sheet view the Table you wish to Delete the Data Macro for.

2. Select the Table ribbon view tab.

3. Select the relevant Event button and make Delete the changes for.

4. Within the Data Macro screen, remove each command by selecting the at the top right corner of the command.

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5. When you have completed the Macro, Save and Close the Data Macro.

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This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.

Finalizing Your Application

Once your database design is complete, it can be very complex with many Tables, Forms, Queries and Reports which in most cases the user will only need to use directly a small number of. To enhance the user experience and usage, we generally use switchboard menus (a collection of specially created forms) for the user to navigate around the Database.

As they will have the relevant tools available via these forms/buttons, the Ribbon, QAT and Navigation Pane are really redundant to them, and hiding them will tidy up the appearance of the database and also ensure no unexpected access features are selected.

Hiding the Ribbon

Using your Current Database options, you will generally set a Form to open when the Database is opened by the user. This Form we will create some code which will hide the Ribbon when the form is opened and again Show the ribbon when the Form is close.

Procedure: Hiding the Ribbon

1. Open within Design view the Form that is displayed when the Database is loaded.

2. Select the Design ribbon tab and click on Property Sheet to display.

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3. Within the Property Sheet window, select the Event tab and click the three dots button next to OnOpen event.

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4. Select the Code Builder option from the presented list and click OK.

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5. The Visual Basic Editor window will now display, ensure the following red text is entered as shown below.

DoCmd.ShowToolbar “Ribbon”, acToolbarNo

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6. Select the save button and close the Visual Basic Editor window.

Now you have the code set to hide the Ribbon while this specific form is opened, you will need to complete the next task to show the Ribbon again when the form is close.

Showing the Ribbon Again…

Once you have entered the code to hide the Ribbon, when you close your database the Ribbon will always be hidden. We resolve this problem by adding the code to the OnClose event of the Form to show the Ribbon again. .

Procedure: Showing the Ribbon

1. Open within Design view the Form that is displayed when the Database is loaded.

2. Select the Design ribbon tab and click on Property Sheet to display.

3. Within the Property Sheet window, select the Event tab and click the three dots button next to OnClose event.

4. Select the Code Builder option from the presented list and click OK.

4. The Visual Basic Editor window will now display, ensure the following red text is entered as shown below.

DoCmd.ShowToolbar “Ribbon”, acToolbarYes

5. Select the save button and close the Visual Basic Editor window.

Once the database is closed, each time it is opened the form will launch and the Ribbon will be hidden and then shown once the form is closed.

Hide the Navigation Pane

To ensure your general user audience cannot gain access to all of the database objects – only the ones you give them access to via a switchboard, hiding the Navigation Pane is the answer. This feature is set by database, even though you have hidden the Navigation Pane from one Database Application, it will re-appear for others.

Procedure: Hiding the Navigation Pane

1. Open the database you wish to hide the Navigation Pane for.

2. Select the File Backstage View button and click on Options.

3. Within the Options dialog box, select the Current Database section.

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4. Locate the Navigation section and de-select the Display Navigation Pane check box.

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5. Click OK to save the option change.

6. You will be prompted with the following dialog box, you must close the database down and re-open it for the change to take effect.

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7. To display the Navigation Pane in this Database again, repeat the above steps, selecting the Display Navigation Pane check box.

This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.

Access Image Gallery

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Use the Image Gallery to provide an easy way to add, reuse, and update images on forms and reports within your Database application.

Once an image is inserted onto a form or report, it is automatically added to the Image Gallery, and becomes part of the database. From that point on you can quickly add the image to any other forms or reports in that database.

When you update the image in the Image Gallery, it will automatically update any other occurrences within your database.

Adding to the Image Gallery

When an image is added to a Form or Report, the image will automatically be added to the Image Gallery. However, during your scoping and design of the Database, you will highlight logos and other images that will be repetitively used within the design objects, these can be added ready to be used at a later stage.

Procedure: Add a Gallery Image

1. Open any Form or Report into Design View.

2. Select the Design Ribbon tab and click on Insert Image.

image3. Select the Browse option, and locate your image within the Insert Picture dialog box

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4. Select the image and click OK.

Repeat the above procedure until all your images have been added to the Image Gallery.

Amending an entry in the Image Gallery

Once in the Image Gallery, your image can be Renamed, Updated or even Deleted. If you Update an Image, all occurrences of the image that have been used in the Database application, will automatically be updated. If the image is Deleted, every occurrence of the image will be replaced with a blank image control, you will need to then manually update the control to fill with the new image.

Procedure: Add a Gallery Image

1. Open any Form or Report into Design View.

2. Select the Design Ribbon tab and click on Insert Image.

3. Right mouse click on the image you wish to amend.

4. Select the required option from the shortcut menu.

This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.

Sharing Reports

We’d like to welcome guest blogger Nick Williams. Over the next few weeks, Nick will be publishing a series of Access-related tutorials. Nick is an Access tutor based in the U.K.

If a group of users do not have access to your Database Application, share data with them by exporting Reports. Select the file format you want to save in—Excel, PDF, HTML or other format.

This process can be performed on a regular basis, you are able to save the export steps and run them again easily. Additionally you are able to create an Outlook Task while saving the export steps, this will not only remind you when it’s time to export the report, but also a Run Export button will be added to the Task automatically, so you can run it from within Outlook.

Procedure: Setting up an Export Reportimage

1. Right click on the Report to be exported within the Navigation panel.

2. Select Export, and choose the format to be exported to.

3. Within the Publish dialog box, select the location and enter the filename to be used.

4. Point and click Publish.

 

 

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5. You will now be prompted to save the Export Steps. Once the checkbox has been selected, enter a Save As name and Description.

If you would like to have a task prompt you when the export is due to run again, select the Create Outlook Task tick box. Click Save Export to continue.

6. If the Create Outlook Task has been selected, ensure the correct Date/Time and Reminder are set within the Task.

Procedure: Running a Saved Export

1. Select the External Data ribbon tab and choose Saved Exports.

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2. Within the Manage Data Tasks dialog box, select the Saved Export and click Run.

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Also, if you have a Task setup in Outlook, you are able to open the Task and click the Run Export button within the Task ribbon tab.

Click OK to confirm the running of the Export Report.image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.

Access–The Right Tool for the Job

Guest Blogger Jack Leach is a colleague of mine at UtterAccess where his pet project is the Access Wiki. Recently, in a mailing list that we both subscribe to, Jack posted his experience in building an Access application for his business. You can find his website at http://www.dymeng.com and his blog at http://dymeng.com/blog. Jack has graciously given his permission to OTM to publish his success story.

I’ve used Access to create a shop management software for my manufacturing business.  Besides the average FE type stuff: customers, orders, purchasing, quickbooks integration, the software also handles all the backend stuff: visual scheduling, what-if scenarios, integrated quality control, everything right down to tooling tracking (of which there’s thousands).  Min/Max for both customer pull-supply as well as shop supply, so on and so forth.  The whole nine yards.

Even more so, I was able to integrate basic CAM (Computer Aided Machining – like CAD that outputs machine tool code for producing the parts) into the routing structure for the components we make.  AutoCAD automation for reading customer drawings and auto-generating tolerance sets for quality reporting, etc.

The very first piece of the application – my first Access project – saved the company an estimated $20k/year by providing different machine code formats for different machine tool platforms.

We work with medical, military, aerospace and other demanding industries, which has all been fully supported by this for quite a few years.