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5:30am , Spain & Vlookup

Up at 5:30am today I was on a phone call with a small business in Spain (a six hour time difference).  They requested a price quote on automating some internal processes using Excel.  One item which came up was the usage of unique identifiers in functions like Vlookup. This function uses a “key” to match and pull values from different worksheets.  I explained to the potential client that using names as the key would not be ideal for this function as there maybe multiple John Smith’s or John Adams’.  A more thorough approach would be using an identifier like an id number.  The client proceeded to explain that in Spain names are very unique.  A name is a composite of first name, Mother’s last name, Father’s last name and in some cases Grandmother’s last name.  These combinations produced a truly unique name which could be used as a “key”.  In this country using a name as a key may pass the test.

You’ve heard the saying “when in Rome”, well “when in Spain.”

About the author

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Othniel Denis is currently Principal of Excellent Ones Consulting LLC. He brings with him a background in finance, training, and information management systems. Prior to opening his own firm, Othniel spent the last 13 years in finance as an Analyst at organizations like New York University, Nassau County Government and Brookhaven National Laboratory to name a few...

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