Every study, without exception, has found error rates much higher than organizations would wish to tolerate.
Panko (1999)
94% of the 88 spreadsheets audited in 7 studies have contained errors.
Panko (2008)
Spreadsheets are alarmingly error-prone to write.
Paine (2001)
Spreadsheets can be viewed as a highly flexible programming environment for end users.
Abreu, et al (2015)
Despite overwhelming and unanimous evidence... companies have continued to ignore spreadsheet error risks.
Panko (2014)
Spreadsheet shortcomings can significantly hamper an organization's business operation.
Reschenhofer & Matthes (2015)
Spreadsheet errors are pervasive, stubborn, ubiquitous and complex.
Irons (2003)
Spreadsheet errors... a great, often unrecognised, risk to corporate decision making & financial integrity.
Chadwick (2002)
Your spreadsheets may be disasters in the making.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
Spreadsheets have a notoriously high number of faults.
Rust, et al (2006)
Untested spreadsheets are riddled with errors.
Miller (2005)
The issue is not whether there is an error but how many errors there are and how serious they are.
Panko (2007)
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)
Spreadsheets are often hard, if not impossible, to understand.
Mireault & Gresham (2015)
Spreadsheets are dangerous to their authors and others.
Durusau & Hunting (2015)
Most large spreadsheets have dozens or even hundreds of errors.
Panko & Ordway (2005)
Errors in spreadsheets are as ubiquitous as spreadsheets themselves.
Colbenz (2005)
It is irrational to expect large error-free spreadsheets.
Panko (2013)
Errors in spreadsheets... result in incorrect decisions being made and significant losses incurred.
Beaman, et al (2005)
Spreadsheet errors are still the rule rather than the exception.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
Spreadsheets are commonly used and commonly flawed.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2008)
...few incidents of spreadsheet errors are made public and these are usually not revealed by choice.
Kruck & Sheetz (2001)
Research on spreadsheet errors is substantial, compelling, and unanimous.
Panko (2015)
People tend to believe their spreadsheets are more accurate than they really are.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
1% of all formulas in operational spreadsheets are in error.
Powell, Baker, & Lawson (2009)
Even obvious, elementary errors in very simple, clearly documented spreadsheets are... difficult to find.
Galletta, et al (1993)
Spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone.
Cunha, et al (2011)
Every study that has looked for errors has found them... in considerable abundance.
Panko & Halverson (1996)
Spreadsheets are easy to use and very hard to check.
Chen & Chan (2000)
Most executives do not really check or verify the accuracy or validity of [their] spreadsheets...
Teo & Tan (1999)
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)
Studies have shown that there is a high incidence of errors in spreadsheets.
Csernoch & Biro (2013)
The quality and reliability of spreadsheets is known to be poor.
Bishop & McDaid (2007)
A lot of decisions are being made on the basis of some bad numbers.
Ross (1996)
Programmers exhibit unwarranted confidence in the correctness of their spreadsheets.
Krishna, et al (2001)
The results given by spreadsheets are often just wrong.
Sajaniemi (1998)
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)
The untested spreadsheet is as dangerous and untrustworthy as an untested program.
Price (2006)
Overconfidence is one of the most substantial causes of spreadsheet errors.
Sakal, 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)
Despite being staggeringly error prone, spreadsheets are a highly flexible programming environment.
Abreu, et al (2015)
60% of large companies feel 'Spreadsheet Hell' describes their reliance on spreadsheets.
Murphy (2007)
A significant proportion of spreadsheets have severe quality problems.
Ayalew (2007)
The software that end users are creating... is riddled with errors.
Burnett & Myers (2014)
It is now widely accepted that errors in spreadsheets are both common and potentially dangerous.
Nixon & O'Hara (2010)
Spreadsheets are the most popular live programming environments, but they are also notoriously fault-prone.
Hermans & van der Storm (2015)

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title The wall and the ball: A study of domain referent spreadsheet errors
Authors Richard J. Irons
Year 2003
Type Proceedings
Publication EuSpRIG
Series  
Abstract

The Cell Error Rate in simple spreadsheets averages about 2% to 5%. This CER has been measured in domain free environments.

This paper compares the CERs occurring in domain free and applied domain tasks. The applied domain task requires the application of simple linear algebra to a costing problem.

The results show that domain referent knowledge influences participants' approaches to spreadsheet creation and spreadsheet usage. The conclusion is that spreadsheet error making is influenced by domain knowledge and domain perception.

Qualitative findings also suggest that spreadsheet error making is a part of overall human behaviour, and ought to be analyzed against this wider canvas.

Full version Available
Sample
Spreadsheet error analysis: Summary statistics
Spreadsheet error analysis: Summary statistics

The difference in the number of submitted Wall and Ball spreadsheets indicates that several participants found the Ball task simply 'too hard'.

Where both spreadsheets were submitted there was a difference in the number of errors between both tasks. However, this difference is not statistically significant.

Interestingly, only one participant completed both tasks correctly, whilst 8 participants got the Wall correct and the Ball wrong.

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