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Marton Sakal, Lazar Rakovic, & Vuk Vukovic


Due to their unique simplicity and flexibility, spreadsheets are nowadays used for various purposes, from financial calculations, planning, and data aggregation, to decision making at different levels of management.

Despite being created with the intention to be of temporary character, research shows that spreadsheets tend to supply support even in key business processes in organizations, often over longer periods of time.

Starting from the related work mentioned in the paper, and prompted by issues to which articles dealing with spreadsheet errors especially drew attention, the research had the objective to answer the following questions:

  • Are spreadsheets used in SMEs and to what extent?
  • How great is the significance of spreadsheets in the respondents' regular activities?
  • In which situations and for what purpose do the respondents use spreadsheets in SMEs?

The research encompassed 213 respondents from 147 Serbian SMEs. Among others, research results have shown that more than 90% of respondents use spreadsheets to a certain extent, most frequently MS Excel. Almost three-quarters of respondents regard spreadsheets as important for performing their work.

More than two-thirds of respondents have more than four years of spreadsheet experience, using them most frequently up to one-quarter of their working hours, usually as an auxiliary tool, as follows: more than a quarter when they cannot perform the task with the existing IS, and as many as 60% when they find it easier to perform their task with spreadsheets than using the existing official IS.


Importance of spreadsheets in the respondents' work
Importance of spreadsheets in the respondents' work

The highest percentage of respondents think that spreadsheets are extremely important in the work they perform, while a really small percentage of them are of the opposite opinion.

After the division of grades into low (1, 2 and 3) and high (4, 5 and 6), the results have become even clearer. In particular, it can be seen that as many as 83.57% of respondents regard spreadsheets as important for performing their work.


2017, Journal of Business Economics and Management, Volume 65, March-April, pages 294-305

Full article

A survey of the use and purpose of spreadsheets in SMEs in Serbia