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

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Spreadsheet accuracy theory
Authors Susan E. Kruck & Steven D. Sheetz
Year 2001
Type Article
Publication Journal of Information Systems Education
Series Volume 12, Number 2, pages 93-106
Abstract

Electronic spreadsheets have made a major contribution to financial analysis and problem solving processes. Decisions made using these tools often involve substantive consequences for the organizations.

However, academic literature reveals that experienced professionals and students make many errors when developing spreadsheets. Practitioners recognize the importance of accuracy and have published many techniques they use for improving the accuracy of their spreadsheets.

Systematic evaluation of this literature provides a basis for understanding practitioners' perceptions of how and why errors occur in spreadsheets and is also valuable source from which to identify a theory of spreadsheet accuracy and capture the knowledge of experienced spreadsheet developers.

The analysis of this literature suggests three categories of issues spreadsheet developers must address to create more accurate spreadsheets including:

  • Planning and design.
  • Formula complexity.
  • Testing/debugging.

Spreadsheet accuracy theory explains and predicts how changes in development processes can be expected to impact spreadsheet accuracy.

Full version Available
Sample
Spreadsheet error reduction model
Spreadsheet error reduction model

The spreadsheet accuracy theory's constructs and propositions are presented graphically in this figure.

The design/planning and testing/debugging constructs have positive relationships with the spreadsheet accuracy construct, while the formula complexity construct has an inverse relationship with spreadsheet accuracy.

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