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

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Spreadsheet safety: Designing the perfect file
Authors Jennifer Kreie & John Pendley
Year 1998
Type Article
Publication Journal of Accountancy
Series Volume 186, Number 5, November, pages 31-34
Abstract

In recent years, spreadsheets have taken on a role far more important than they had in the pre-computer days: shaping business strategies and being used increasingly for ongoing projects by many different people who need to go in and out of a file, to add material and even to customize the output for their specific needs.

This presents a new challenge for the spreadsheet developer, who must design the file so it cannot be accidentally altered by an inexperienced user.

Here are steps to ensure safe spreadsheet design:

  • Decide what you want the spreadsheet to do. List the data to be used and the output you want. Then identify the calculations needed to produce that output.
  • Lay out the spreadsheet structure and, if necessary, divide it into logically related sections, such as identification, description, model, documentation and macros.
  • Create the spreadsheet. Familiarize yourself with the use of absolute and relative cell references. Its proper use is critical to the success of the input, calculation and output areas.
  • Test the spreadsheet by selecting a set of test values, and then test the results independently of your spreadsheet.
Full version Available
Sample
Modular design: Documentation
Modular design: Documentation

The documentation module includes detailed explanations about the application. It may contain specific clarifications such as data format, identity of protected cells, special printing instructions or any other important information the developer wants to include.

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