Re: What to say when figures appear as though they "don't add up"--but do

Subject: Re: What to say when figures appear as though they "don't add up"--but do
From: Jo Baer <jbaer -at- mailbox1 -dot- tcfbank -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 11:21:02 -0600

The template our department uses for report documentation includes a heading
called "Unusual Characteristics." Under this heading we explain things that
aren't aparent by looking at the report, ways in which this report might differ
from what the user has come to expect from their experience with other reports,
etc. This heading follows immediately after the "vital statistics" such as
report name, report number. Perhaps something similar would work for your guide.


Jo Baer
Senior Technical Writer
TCF National Bank
Minneapolis, Minnesota
jbaer -at- mailbox1 -dot- tcfbank -dot- com

If you can remain calm, you
just don't have all the facts.

"Cummings, Elizabeth" wrote:

> The application my team developed has the capability of generating many
> (50+) reports. All the reports show figures that, at the maximum, extend to
> one decimal point--but most show only figures that are whole numbers. To the
> layperson's eye, some of these figures don't appear to add up, and I
> understand from the development side that this is due to rounding (e.g., On
> one report, column A shows "4" and column B shows "2", and these two columns
> should add up to the sum shown in column C, which is "7". In this situation,
> "4" was really 4.3, and "2" was really 2.3--the sum of which of course
> rounds up to 7.).
> As you can probably tell already, I am no "math person", but this concept
> makes sense to me: When I see that a figure in one of our many reports that
> is off by one or I see a total does not register as a perfect 100%, I know
> that this is the result of the behind-the-scenes rounding. Apparently,
> though, several users are troubled by such seeming miscalculations, and my
> manager asked whether I knew of any industry-wide standard for explaining
> this scenario so that I could include it in our user's guide.
> Thanks so much for your time.
> --Elizabeth Cummings


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