Frequently Asked Questions

Access to and a basic knowledge of spreadsheet software (e.g., Excel, Google sheets) is required to use the worksheets. For those who have used spreadsheet software but are not very comfortable with it, it may be useful to review how to use the SUM function, how to write basic addition and division formulas, how to copy and paste information, and how to link information between cells. Some basic math skills are also helpful for understanding the results of the analysis in Step 5. For those who do not have recent experience with calculating total cost, average cost, net income, or rate of return, it may be useful to review chapter 2 of the User’s Guide.

The current edition of Green Value is set up to analyze one productive period, such as one trimester, one semester, one harvest season (which may be a few weeks or many months), or one year. Edition 3 (available in late 2016) will include an option for analyzing multiple productive periods.

If the products are the result of the same productive activities, then the Summary worksheet can be modified to calculate the cost of raw material, for example the harvesting of logs, as well as a primary product, such as boards. To analyze products as different as Brazil nuts and logs, for example, one copy of the worksheets would need to be used for Brazil nuts and another copy would be used for logs. However, edition 3 (available in 2017) will provide guidance on how to analyze different products and/or services in the same set of worksheets.

Green Value is primarily to help with decision-making, it is not an accounting tool. The recommendations for organizing cost information and for depreciating machinery and equipment will vary from accounting guidelines. However, it is recommended that users look at how the accounting system and/or the Green Value worksheets can be modified to make using the same information in both systems easier.

The authors like the flexibility that leaving Green Value in spreadsheet software provides users. The two main advantages of this are: (1) the worksheets can be modified by users to work better for specific initiatives; and (2) users can click on a cell to see or modify formulas or links as needed.

Green Value is for financial analysis of one initiative for one productive period. Economic analyses often include longer time horizons, positive and negative externalities, and non-market values, and usually takes into account opportunity costs related to other productive activities.