The beginning…

So today I start my blog….

With limited knowledge of the blogging world and as a lad from Hull some may say a limited knowledge of the English language, I thought I’d give it a go.

I hope to share my experiences and knowledge along with useful links on the subject of ‘playing with data’, using my favourite weapons of choice, Qlik Sense, Excel functions / VBA, ODBC / ADO, SQL, and possibly even a bit of MS access.

To add context… Whilst training as a practice accountant back in the 90’s I noticed most colleagues used their computers for no more than desktop publishing and those lucky enough to have use of a laptop, no more than large paper weights. I however was intrigued to see how this tool could make my job easier.

I qualified as an accountant back in 2001 and so for the past 25 years or so have been swimming in data.

My personal history is;

– an early age user of computers, from back in the early 80’s with my Commodore 64! Graduating to a keen hobbyist and geek youth gamer / bulletin board enthusiast on the Amiga.

– As I completed my A Levels at school I moved onto learning how to use MS DOS, mainly to hide games from the teachers. Side by side with this I discovered new tools such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel. Yet to realise my future exciting venture into a world of finance I strangely studied the FTSE 100, specifically water company prices to look for trends, compared to other correlating factors. At the time this took the form of a pen and pad, a trip to the local library and many many hours glued to a microfiche machine collecting the data. Inputting the data into my very basic database I quickly learned the timely, costly and painful lesson of crap in = crap out. My first personal data revelation…

It makes no difference what tools we use. It can be a pen and pad, or the best systems money can buy. If we have no mechanism for stewardship of new data and no feedback loop to cleanse poor data, the outputs can be complete rubbish in some cases and in some cases dangerously misleading.

Standardisation, common sense / usable naming conventions or codes and good housekeeping are paramount. Consistency is king.

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