Spreadsheet shortcomings can significantly hamper an organization's business operation.
Reschenhofer & Matthes (2015)
Spreadsheets contain errors at an alarmingly high rate.
Abraham, et al (2005)
Most large spreadsheets have dozens or even hundreds of errors.
Panko & Ordway (2005)
Never assume a spreadsheet is right, even your own.
Raffensperger (2001)
The issue is not whether there is an error but how many errors there are and how serious they are.
Panko (2007)
94% of the 88 spreadsheets audited in 7 studies have contained errors.
Panko (2008)
Research on spreadsheet errors is substantial, compelling, and unanimous.
Panko (2015)
Spreadsheets are the most popular live programming environments, but they are also notoriously fault-prone.
Hermans & van der Storm (2015)
Spreadsheets are dangerous to their authors and others.
Durusau & Hunting (2015)
Overconfidence is one of the most substantial causes of spreadsheet errors.
Sakal, et al (2015)
Even obvious, elementary errors in very simple, clearly documented spreadsheets are... difficult to find.
Galletta, et al (1993)
1% of all formulas in operational spreadsheets are in error.
Powell, Baker, & Lawson (2009)
Programmers exhibit unwarranted confidence in the correctness of their spreadsheets.
Krishna, et al (2001)
People tend to believe their spreadsheets are more accurate than they really are.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
Spreadsheets are often hard, if not impossible, to understand.
Mireault & Gresham (2015)
Spreadsheet errors are pervasive, stubborn, ubiquitous and complex.
Irons (2003)
The results given by spreadsheets are often just wrong.
Sajaniemi (1998)
Spreadsheets are commonly used and commonly flawed.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2008)
Errors in spreadsheets... result in incorrect decisions being made and significant losses incurred.
Beaman, et al (2005)
Every study, without exception, has found error rates much higher than organizations would wish to tolerate.
Panko (1999)
The untested spreadsheet is as dangerous and untrustworthy as an untested program.
Price (2006)
It is irrational to expect large error-free spreadsheets.
Panko (2013)
Your spreadsheets may be disasters in the making.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
The software that end users are creating... is riddled with errors.
Burnett & Myers (2014)
Spreadsheets are easy to use and very hard to check.
Chen & Chan (2000)
A lot of decisions are being made on the basis of some bad numbers.
Ross (1996)
A significant proportion of spreadsheets have severe quality problems.
Ayalew (2007)
It is now widely accepted that errors in spreadsheets are both common and potentially dangerous.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
Spreadsheets... pose a greater threat to your business than almost anything you can imagine.
Howard (2005)
Studies have shown that there is a high incidence of errors in spreadsheets.
Csernoch & Biro (2013)
The quality and reliability of spreadsheets is known to be poor.
Bishop & McDaid (2007)
60% of large companies feel 'Spreadsheet Hell' describes their reliance on spreadsheets.
Murphy (2007)
Spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone.
Cunha, et al (2011)
Despite being staggeringly error prone, spreadsheets are a highly flexible programming environment.
Abreu, et al (2015)
Spreadsheet errors... a great, often unrecognised, risk to corporate decision making & financial integrity.
Chadwick (2002)
Most executives do not really check or verify the accuracy or validity of [their] spreadsheets...
Teo & Tan (1999)
Spreadsheets have a notoriously high number of faults.
Rust, et al (2006)
Spreadsheets are alarmingly error-prone to write.
Paine (2001)
Developing an error-free spreadsheet has been a problem since the beginning of end-user computing.
Mireault (2015)
Every study that has looked for errors has found them... in considerable abundance.
Panko & Halverson (1996)
Errors in spreadsheets are as ubiquitous as spreadsheets themselves.
Colbenz (2005)
Spreadsheet errors have resulted in huge financial losses.
Abraham & Erwig (2007)
Spreadsheet development must embrace extensive testing in order to be taken seriously as a profession.
Bock (2016)
Spreadsheets can be viewed as a highly flexible programming environment for end users.
Abreu, et al (2015)
...few incidents of spreadsheet errors are made public and these are usually not revealed by choice.
Kruck & Sheetz (2001)
Spreadsheets are extraordinarily and unacceptably prone to error.
Dunn (2010)
Despite overwhelming and unanimous evidence... companies have continued to ignore spreadsheet error risks.
Panko (2014)
Untested spreadsheets are riddled with errors.
Miller (2005)
Spreadsheets are more fault-prone than other software.
Kulesz & Ostberg (2013)
Spreadsheet errors are still the rule rather than the exception.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Spreadsheets - the good, the bad and the downright ugly
Authors Angus Dunn
Year 2010
Type Proceedings
Publication EuSpRIG
Series  
Abstract

Spreadsheets are ubiquitous, heavily relied on throughout vast swathes of finance, commerce, industry, academia and Government. They are also acknowledged to be extraordinarily and unacceptably prone to error.

If these two points are accepted, it has to follow that their uncontrolled use has the potential to inflict considerable damage. One approach to controlling such error should be to define as "good practice" a set of characteristics that a spreadsheet must possess and as "bad practice" another set that it must avoid.

Defining such characteristics should, in principle, perfectly do-able. However, being able to say with authority at a definite moment that any particular spreadsheet complies with these characteristics is very much more difficult.

The author asserts that the use of automated spreadsheet development could markedly help in ensuring and demonstrating such compliance.

Full version Available
Sample
Suggested code of good and bad spreadsheet practice

Examples of characteristics from the suggested code:

  • Required: Inputs and calculations to be modular in design.
  • Required: Each section should be independently checked.
  • Desirable: A spreadsheet should be easy to read.
  • Desirable: There must be extensive use of self checking.
  • Avoid: Inclusion of hard coded constants in formulae.
  • Avoid: The use of formulae of considerable complexity.
  • Banned: Hard coded constants in calculation areas.
  • Banned: Hidden cells and hidden sheets.
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