Spreadsheets are easy to use and very hard to check.
Chen & Chan (2000)
Most large spreadsheets have dozens or even hundreds of errors.
Panko & Ordway (2005)
Spreadsheet errors are pervasive, stubborn, ubiquitous and complex.
Irons (2003)
Overconfidence is one of the most substantial causes of spreadsheet errors.
Sakal, et al (2015)
...few incidents of spreadsheet errors are made public and these are usually not revealed by choice.
Kruck & Sheetz (2001)
Most executives do not really check or verify the accuracy or validity of [their] spreadsheets...
Teo & Tan (1999)
A lot of decisions are being made on the basis of some bad numbers.
Ross (1996)
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)
Errors in spreadsheets... result in incorrect decisions being made and significant losses incurred.
Beaman, et al (2005)
Programmers exhibit unwarranted confidence in the correctness of their spreadsheets.
Krishna, et al (2001)
Spreadsheets are often hard, if not impossible, to understand.
Mireault & Gresham (2015)
Spreadsheets are alarmingly error-prone to write.
Paine (2001)
The quality and reliability of spreadsheets is known to be poor.
Bishop & McDaid (2007)
Spreadsheet errors are still the rule rather than the exception.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
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)
Despite being staggeringly error prone, spreadsheets are a highly flexible programming environment.
Abreu, et al (2015)
Spreadsheets... pose a greater threat to your business than almost anything you can imagine.
Howard (2005)
Despite overwhelming and unanimous evidence... companies have continued to ignore spreadsheet error risks.
Panko (2014)
A significant proportion of spreadsheets have severe quality problems.
Ayalew (2007)
Spreadsheet errors have resulted in huge financial losses.
Abraham & Erwig (2007)
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)
Spreadsheets are commonly used and commonly flawed.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2008)
Errors in spreadsheets are as ubiquitous as spreadsheets themselves.
Colbenz (2005)
Spreadsheet development must embrace extensive testing in order to be taken seriously as a profession.
Bock (2016)
The software that end users are creating... is riddled with errors.
Burnett & Myers (2014)
60% of large companies feel 'Spreadsheet Hell' describes their reliance on spreadsheets.
Murphy (2007)
It is now widely accepted that errors in spreadsheets are both common and potentially dangerous.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
Research on spreadsheet errors is substantial, compelling, and unanimous.
Panko (2015)
Studies have shown that there is a high incidence of errors in spreadsheets.
Csernoch & Biro (2013)
Spreadsheet errors... a great, often unrecognised, risk to corporate decision making & financial integrity.
Chadwick (2002)
It is irrational to expect large error-free spreadsheets.
Panko (2013)
Untested spreadsheets are riddled with errors.
Miller (2005)
Every study that has looked for errors has found them... in considerable abundance.
Panko & Halverson (1996)
94% of the 88 spreadsheets audited in 7 studies have contained errors.
Panko (2008)
Spreadsheets are the most popular live programming environments, but they are also notoriously fault-prone.
Hermans & van der Storm (2015)
1% of all formulas in operational spreadsheets are in error.
Powell, Baker, & Lawson (2009)
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 contain errors at an alarmingly high rate.
Abraham, et al (2005)
Your spreadsheets may be disasters in the making.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
Developing an error-free spreadsheet has been a problem since the beginning of end-user computing.
Mireault (2015)
Spreadsheets have a notoriously high number of faults.
Rust, et al (2006)
Spreadsheet shortcomings can significantly hamper an organization's business operation.
Reschenhofer & Matthes (2015)
The issue is not whether there is an error but how many errors there are and how serious they are.
Panko (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 bibliography

Title Spreadsheet errors: What we know; what we think we can do
Authors Raymond R. Panko
Year 2000
Type Proceedings
Publication EuSpRIG
Series  
Abstract

Fifteen years of research studies have concluded unanimously that spreadsheet errors are both common and non-trivial. Now we must seek ways to reduce spreadsheet errors.

Several approaches have been suggested, some of which are promising and others, while appealing because they are easy to do, are not likely to be effective. To date, only one technique, cell-by-cell code inspection, has been demonstrated to be effective.

We need to conduct further research to determine the degree to which other techniques can reduce spreadsheet errors.

Full version Available
Sample
Conclusions

What we know:

  • At least 90% of spreadsheets contain errors.
  • There are many types of errors.
  • Developers are overconfident.
  • Policies are lax.

What we think we can do:

  • Recognise that human error is tenacious.
  • Protect cells to prevent accidental errors.
  • Re-key data to reduce data input errors.
  • Examine results for reasonableness.
  • Adopt good development practices.
  • Use error discovery software.
  • Inspect every cell.
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