The biggest and best Excel challenge is now opened! Professionals and students in Finance, Banking, Accounting, Investments and Quantitative industries who love and use Microsoft Excel could accept the challenge and compete with the best from 100+ countries. The tasks are very challenging but the fun is guaranteed - I have done most of the tasks from the previous competitions and I know for sure. There are three rounds - first two are on-line case studies and the third is on a live event in New Your City.
In the process of development complex spreadsheets in Excel there is always the question of the balance of using VBA macros vs. implementation of with formulas. There is no one answer and the choice depends on the target users, complexity of operations and logic, size of the sheet and others. I would like to share some thoughts on this matter.
The R language is a powerful tool but the learning curve could be very steep and intimidating. However, as a business user you might be looking into it in search of speed, flexibility and better handling of larger data. An Excel user would be thinking in terms of the most common tasks in Excel - summaries, pivots, look-ups, filtering and charting and the first questions about R naturally would be how to perform these tasks. The answers are not always easy to find. Fortunately, there are some good people on the Internet come to help. I have put together a short list of blogs and sites that could be very useful for the initial part of the Excel to R transition.
No matter how closely you follow your religion's prescriptions for righteous life sooner or later the life will serve you the task of dealing with an Excel model made by somebody else. The clash with a different design style, approach of problem solving and sheet organization is definitely not joyful pleasant experience. However, over the time I developed sort of a methodology to follow in this process to deliver fast result with minimum efforts and keeps my sanity intact.