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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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12–2. Post Financial Statements in an Excel PivotTable on the Internet

A number of companies have found that an effective way to increase investor knowledge of their activities is to post their financial statements on their Web sites. These tend to be a summary-level duplication of the most recent quarterly or annual results, as well as any accompanying financial notes. Though this is certainly a good way to communicate with investors, the concept can be taken a step further by loading the financial information into an Excel PivotTable, which is essentially a three-dimensional spreadsheet that reveals different layers of information to the user. By using a PivotTable, a reader of a financial statement can access the results for multiple years, or even different lines of business, within a summary-level financial statement. A good example of this layout can be found in the Investor Relations section of the Microsoft Web site. This is a relatively easy best practice to implement. The only downside is that investors must download the file, which creates the highly unlikely, yet possible, risk of importing a computer virus through the spreadsheet file.

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