What is going on here?

xeven_

Active Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
299
2012$13,641 4%
2013$13,057 -4%
2014$15,233 17%
2015($6,145)-140%
2016$6,845 -211%
2017($8,920)-230%
2018($22,802)156%

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I am using office 365 pro plus (excel) When I paste my data and then add the =(B2-B1)/B1 in cell C2 the formula is calculating some cells corrrectly and others it isnt. It seems to go from positive to negative correctly but wont go from negative to positive. Does anyone have a fix for this? :confused:
 

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joeu2004

Well-known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
3,025
Office Version
  1. 2010
Platform
  1. Windows
Technically, -211% (-211.39%) is correct insofar as if B4=-6145, B4*(1+C5) = 6845.

Many people will say (correctly) that we cannot "increase" a negative number (i.e. become less negative or become positive) by multiplying by a positive percentage.

But I can understand why you might want to present that illusion. To do that, use the following formula:

=IF(B1=0, SIGN(B2), (B2-B1)/ABS(B1))

formatted as Percentage.

PS.... Many people will say (correctly) we also cannot increase or decrease zero by a percentage (B1=0). I threw that in because it is another common request. It based on the fact that if B1=1234 and B2=0, the normal result is correctly -100%.
 
Last edited:

shg

MrExcel MVP
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
21,785
Office Version
  1. 2010
Platform
  1. Windows
There's no useful interpretation of YoY changes when either period is negative. For instance, for the WSJ,

Percent change is not provided if either the latest period or the year-ago period contains a net loss. On the digest page, if a company posts a profit in the latest period against a loss in the year-ago period, the percent change is represented as a "P". Similarly, if a company posts a loss in the latest period against a profit in the year-ago period, the percent change is represented as a "L".
 

xeven_

Active Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
299
Thanks for the explanation. It helps me to visualize (especially being color coded) when there exist and increase/decrease from the prior year. Negative 6.1 billion in 2015 and then a positive 6.8 billion the following year helps me think of it as positive traction. When I see the negative/red block -211% when there was profit made it makes me think subconsciously that they are still losing money when in fact they may have returned to a making profit relative to the prior year.
 

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