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

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Spreadsheets - the good, the bad and the downright ugly
Authors Angus Dunn
Year 2010
Type Proceedings
Publication EuSpRIG
Series  
Abstract

Spreadsheets are ubiquitous, heavily relied on throughout vast swathes of finance, commerce, industry, academia and Government. They are also acknowledged to be extraordinarily and unacceptably prone to error.

If these two points are accepted, it has to follow that their uncontrolled use has the potential to inflict considerable damage. One approach to controlling such error should be to define as "good practice" a set of characteristics that a spreadsheet must possess and as "bad practice" another set that it must avoid.

Defining such characteristics should, in principle, perfectly do-able. However, being able to say with authority at a definite moment that any particular spreadsheet complies with these characteristics is very much more difficult.

The author asserts that the use of automated spreadsheet development could markedly help in ensuring and demonstrating such compliance.

Full version Available
Sample
Suggested code of good and bad spreadsheet practice

Examples of characteristics from the suggested code:

  • Required: Inputs and calculations to be modular in design.
  • Required: Each section should be independently checked.
  • Desirable: A spreadsheet should be easy to read.
  • Desirable: There must be extensive use of self checking.
  • Avoid: Inclusion of hard coded constants in formulae.
  • Avoid: The use of formulae of considerable complexity.
  • Banned: Hard coded constants in calculation areas.
  • Banned: Hidden cells and hidden sheets.
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