When Negatives Don’t Count: MAX( ) Function in Excel

Shows to how to use the MAX function in Excel

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The biggest operating expense of almost any business is payroll.

And unless you’re really masochistic, negative pay doesn’t exist.

The MAX( ) function is important if you’re calculating incentives or other payroll expenses.

In our above example, salespeople get a $10 incentive for every item they sell over 30 units. 35 units? $50.

But what about 25 units? We aren’t docking pay. 

Rather than hard-code these zero, use MAX( ). This will return the greatest result of a series of formulas.

In our case, we want the greater of the sales difference and 0. In effect, this puts a floor on the sales incentive of $0.

You’d be surprised how many spreadsheets around the office don’t take advantage of this function and instead hard-code over negative values.

Don’t do it! Inconsistent formulas wreak havoc. 

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