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

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Applying code inspection to spreadsheet testing
Authors Raymond R. Panko
Year 1999
Type Article
Publication Journal of Management Information Systems
Series Volume 16, Number 2, Fall, pages 159-176
Abstract

In programming, reliability requires an extensive testing phase. Spreadsheet development, which has about the error rate as program development, also needs to be followed by an extensive testing phase if spreadsheets are to be reliable.

In this study, 60 undergraduate MIS students code–inspected a spreadsheet seeded with eight errors. They first inspected the spreadsheet working alone. They then met in groups of three to reinspect the spreadsheet together. Efforts were made to prevent hasty inspection.

Individual code inspection, consistent with past studies of both spreadsheet and program code inspection, caught only 63% of the errors. Group inspection raised this to 83%. However, the group phase never found new errors; it merely pooled the errors found during the individual phase by the three members.

One group even "lost" an error found during the individual phase. This raises the question of whether a group code inspection phase is really necessary.

Other findings were that subjects were overconfident when inspecting alone, that certain types of errors are especially difficult to detect, and that the benefits of the group phase is greatest for these difficult-to-detect types of errors.

Full version Available
Sample
Hypotheses and results
Hypotheses and results

Did teamwork help? The short answer is that it did. During the group phase, teams of three found 83% of all errors, while individuals working alone only found 63% percent. This is a 31% improvement.

More importantly, the group phase was particularly effective at finding errors that individuals found difficult to detect, including omission errors and errors in longer formulas. For such detection-resistant errors, we found improvements of 50% to 83% for group inspection compared to individuals working alone.

Go to top