Proper documentation of spreadsheets and other forms of digital analysis is a common problem for business students entering professional practices. For example, when a spreadsheet is constructed and poorly documented as to assumptions and related descriptions the ability of others to effectively use the spreadsheet is eroded. This is particularly true when spreadsheets are prepared at the staff level, where such staff may subsequently leave the organization and others are left to rely on the document for important purposes (e.g., audits). Part of this problem could be alleviated by helping students first develop awareness of why poor documentation is a problem and then to develop habits and skills thereby enabling proper levels of documentation. This note describes an innovative approach used in an undergraduate accounting classroom. The innovation involves the use of workshops relying on certain types of co-presenters to facilitate student awareness to aid students in their preparation of Excel based analyses. While a short review of the relevant literature helps frame the issue, there is little published on best practices in teaching the documentation topic. The author explains the structure of the workshop (within the context of the class assignment) and provides the specific documentation elements emphasized. Evidence is provided as to the effectiveness of the approach. Thoughts and resources to enable replication are also supplied
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Teaching Spreadsheet Documentation Skills using Practitioner based Workshops,
Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE):
2, Article 3.
Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie/vol10/iss2/3