94% of the 88 spreadsheets audited in 7 studies have contained errors.
Panko (2008)
Every study, without exception, has found error rates much higher than organizations would wish to tolerate.
Panko (1999)
Spreadsheet errors... a great, often unrecognised, risk to corporate decision making & financial integrity.
Chadwick (2002)
Most large spreadsheets have dozens or even hundreds of errors.
Panko & Ordway (2005)
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 extraordinarily and unacceptably prone to error.
Dunn (2010)
Spreadsheets are commonly used and commonly flawed.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2008)
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)
60% of large companies feel 'Spreadsheet Hell' describes their reliance on spreadsheets.
Murphy (2007)
Spreadsheets are dangerous to their authors and others.
Durusau & Hunting (2015)
Spreadsheets are easy to use and very hard to check.
Chen & Chan (2000)
Spreadsheets are alarmingly error-prone to write.
Paine (2001)
Spreadsheet errors have resulted in huge financial losses.
Abraham & Erwig (2007)
Overconfidence is one of the most substantial causes of spreadsheet errors.
Sakal, et al (2015)
The quality and reliability of spreadsheets is known to be poor.
Bishop & McDaid (2007)
Most executives do not really check or verify the accuracy or validity of [their] spreadsheets...
Teo & Tan (1999)
Spreadsheet errors are pervasive, stubborn, ubiquitous and complex.
Irons (2003)
Spreadsheets contain errors at an alarmingly high rate.
Abraham, et al (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)
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 that has looked for errors has found them... in considerable abundance.
Panko & Halverson (1996)
The results given by spreadsheets are often just wrong.
Sajaniemi (1998)
Spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone.
Cunha, et al (2011)
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)
Spreadsheets are more fault-prone than other software.
Kulesz & Ostberg (2013)
The untested spreadsheet is as dangerous and untrustworthy as an untested program.
Price (2006)
Spreadsheets have a notoriously high number of faults.
Rust, et al (2006)
Your spreadsheets may be disasters in the making.
Caulkins, Morrison, & Weidemann (2006)
It is irrational to expect large error-free spreadsheets.
Panko (2013)
Programmers exhibit unwarranted confidence in the correctness of their spreadsheets.
Krishna, et al (2001)
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)
The software that end users are creating... is riddled with errors.
Burnett & Myers (2014)
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)
Errors in spreadsheets... result in incorrect decisions being made and significant losses incurred.
Beaman, et al (2005)
Never assume a spreadsheet is right, even your own.
Raffensperger (2001)
Studies have shown that there is a high incidence of errors in spreadsheets.
Csernoch & Biro (2013)
Untested spreadsheets are riddled with errors.
Miller (2005)
Despite overwhelming and unanimous evidence... companies have continued to ignore spreadsheet error risks.
Panko (2014)
Errors in spreadsheets are as ubiquitous as spreadsheets themselves.
Colbenz (2005)
Spreadsheets are often hard, if not impossible, to understand.
Mireault & Gresham (2015)
1% of all formulas in operational spreadsheets are in error.
Powell, Baker, & Lawson (2009)
Despite being staggeringly error prone, spreadsheets are a highly flexible programming environment.
Abreu, et al (2015)
Even obvious, elementary errors in very simple, clearly documented spreadsheets are... difficult to find.
Galletta, et al (1993)

Spreadsheet bibliography

Title Visual checking of spreadsheets
Authors Chen Ying & Hock Chuan Chan
Year 2000
Type Proceedings
Publication EuSpRIG
Series  
Abstract

The difference between surface and deep structures of a spreadsheet is a major cause of difficulty in checking spreadsheets.

After a brief survey of current methods of checking (or debugging) spreadsheets, new visual methods of showing the deep structures are presented.

Illustrations are given on how these visual methods can be employed in various interactive local and global debugging strategies.

Full version Available
Sample
The structures of a spreadsheet
The structures of a spreadsheet

The main difficulty that users have in understanding spreadsheets is the difficulty of establishing cell connections - how each cell depends on other cells. These connections form a structure. The usual tabular layouts for texts and numbers do not show the actual connections. They may even suggest a wrong structure.

The two types of cell structure are:

  • Visual/surface structure. Naturally, users deduce the spreadsheet structure through relative positions of cells as they visually cluster them together. The spreadsheet structure is obtained through the visual scanning of cells.
  • Computational/deep structure. Spreadsheet calculations are based on the formulae in cells. Cells are connected through formulae that reflects data flows in a spreadsheet.

It is difficult to understand a spreadsheet when the two structures in the spreadsheet are very inconsistent.

Go to top