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

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Errors in operational spreadsheets
Authors Stephen G. Powell, Kenneth R. Baker, & Barry Lawson
Year 2009
Type Article
Publication Journal of Organizational and End User Computing
Series Volume 21, Number 3, July-September, pages 24-36
Abstract

Spreadsheets are used in almost all businesses, for applications ranging from the mundane to the mission-critical. Errors in the data, formulas, or manipulation of spreadsheets could be costly, even devastating.

The received wisdom is that about 5% of all formulas in spreadsheets contain errors, and this rate is consistent across spreadsheets. However, this estimate is based on five studies, some of which are quite informal, and a total of only 43 spreadsheets.

Our research was designed to deepen our understanding of spreadsheet errors. Specifically, we address three questions about errors in operational spreadsheets: what is the average cell error rate, how does it differ among spreadsheets, and what types of errors are most prevalent?

We created a spreadsheet auditing protocol and applied it to 50 diverse operational spreadsheets. We found errors in 0.9% to 1.8% of all formula cells, depending on how errors are defined. We also found that the error rate differed widely from spreadsheet to spreadsheet.

Full version Available
Sample
Distribution of cell error rates
Distribution of cell error rates

46% of our sample spreadsheets had error rates below 2%; 70% had error rates below 5%. However, several spreadsheets had error rates above 10%; in fact one had a cell error rate of 28%.

The average cell error rate (CER) in this sample is 1.79%.

Only 3 out of 50 spreadsheets had no detected errors. That is, 94% of the spreadsheets contained errors.

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