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# Multiplication by negative value that should be positive

Posted on 2014-01-16
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Hi!
I need to calculate standart operating profit by dividing current year by prior year. Here is my formula:

=IFERROR(EG8/EN8-1,"") My issue is that if last year was negative and this year is positve, then the result is negative which is incorrect b/c there is a growth in the operating profit. How do I need to adjust the formula in order for my sign to flip to positive if last year data is negative.
For example: FY 2013 has \$87,733 amd FY 2012 has -\$43,267. The current answer is negative 302.8%  but it should be positive (87,733 +43,267)/43,267

Thanks!
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39787070

Use the absolute value function: ABS(...)
That converts negatives to positives, but leaves positives (and zero) as is.
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Author Comment

ID: 39787083
ABS will not work...I've tried it...for example 2013 = \$928,903
and 2012 =\$1,083,156
SOP %= -14.2% which indicates the drop
If I use ABS it will turn into a positive 14.2%
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Expert Comment

ID: 39787125
Oh.
What is the "EN8-1" part trying to do, in the =IFERROR(EG8/EN8-1,"") formula?  Why subtract 1?
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 39787184
This should work for the problem listed above. (Assuming 2013 is in column EG and 2012 is in EN)

=IFERROR((EG11-EN11)/EN11,"")

Flyster
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Accepted Solution

Rob earned 500 total points
ID: 39787321
tel2 - the formula for Gross Profit is:

([This Year] - [Last Year]) / [Last Year]

which can be expanded to

(TY / LY) - (LY / LY)

OR

(TY / LY) - 1

So that said, that formula can only be used for positive amounts.  When negatives are involved the formula has to go back to the unsimplified form:

=(TY-LY)/ABS(LY)
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Expert Comment

ID: 39787326
Example attached
Gross-Profit.xlsx
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Author Closing Comment

ID: 39787634
Brilliant! So simple! thank you!!
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39787641
Nice work, Rob.

And good to see that my suggestion to use ABS() wasn't totally wrong.   8)
Too bad I didn't earn any points from it.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39787652
Thanks tel2. Wasn't totally wrong, no. It just had to be in right place. Using abs on the whole formula would still yield incorrect results.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39787657
Hi Rob,
I wasn't trying to imply that ABS() should be used on the whole formula, but I can see how it could have come across that way.  I was just trying to say that it would convert negatives to positives.  I didn't actually know how it should be used, exactly, and didn't want to spend the time or brain power finding out, and hoped that providing the name of the function was all that Ladkisson would need to solve it himself, but it seems that Ladkisson already knew about ABS(), and needed more than that.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39787661
Oh ok, I know where you're coming from now :)
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39787669
I'm coming from just over the ditch, mate - NZ.
tel2
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39787674
Now that makes a lot of sense! :p
j/k - I'm married to one so I can that ;)
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