"Microsoft Excel Is Going Beyond Text and Numbers"

Tor Lillqvist tml at iki.fi
Thu Apr 5 05:02:50 UTC 2018

> (obligatory rant: _current_ exchange or stock market rates in
> spreadsheet functions have close to zero practical value, and only
> encourage people to do shitty accounting.

Indeed. I am not an accountant or economist, but I would say that even
historical exchange rates are of, well, historical interest only. They are
after all only some kind of reported averages, right? Descriptive, not
prescriptive. Usable for demos that just need to look impressive but don't
need to have actual usefulness.

What exchange rate you got when you actually performed a currency
transaction depended on the kind of money (real, electronic, how much, etc)
you were exchanging, and on the currency vendor, and a ton other factors.
What you would want to enter into a spreadsheet with actual data from
financial transactions would be the exact amount of currency A paid and
currency B received in exchange, not an amount of currency B calculated
based on the "exchange rate" of that day.

Even when doing something minimal and personal like a travel expenses
invoice for your employer, you would ideally invoice sums paid in foreign
currencies according to what you were charged by your credit card company
in your own currency. Which typically would be at a much better rate than
any average informational exchange rate reported for that day. Or the rate
charged by the forex company when you bought the foreign cash you used.
Which again probably would be a clearly worse rate than the reported
exchange rate of that day.

Currency is just another kind of goods. You wouldn't do your expenses or
accounting based on some average reported price of other goods or services,
either, would you? You would use the actual amounts you paid or received
when selling or buying something.

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