Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
88% of spreadsheets have errors
Old 04-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 116
88% of spreadsheets have errors

88% of spreadsheets have errors - MarketWatch

Quote:
Microsoft Excel makes it easy for anyone to do the kind of number crunching once reserved for accountants and statisticians. But the world’s best-selling spreadsheet software has also contributed to the proliferation of bad math.

Close to 90% of spreadsheet documents contain errors, a 2008 analysis of multiple studies suggests. “Spreadsheets, even after careful development, contain errors in 1% or more of all formula cells,” writes Ray Panko, a professor of IT management at the University of Hawaii and an authority on bad spreadsheet practices. “In large spreadsheets with thousands of formulas, there will be dozens of undetected errors.”Such mistakes not only can lead to miscalculations in family budgets and distorted balance sheets at small businesses, but also might result in questionable rationales for global fiscal policy
__________________

__________________
tjscott0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-18-2013, 01:22 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,587
Garbage In, Garbage Out, as always.
__________________

__________________
braumeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,017
GIGO
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,988
Even eminent economists are not immune to spreadsheet errors How a student took on eminent economists on debt issue - and won

omni
__________________
omni550 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 01:30 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
timo2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Rio Rancho
Posts: 1,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Garbage In, Garbage Out, as always.

Actually, in the computer age, it's "garbage in, gospel out", as computer generated results have some sort of [false] aura about them.
__________________
"We live the lives we lead because of the thoughts we think" Michael O’Neill
timo2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 02:42 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
heeyy_joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Madeira Beach Fl
Posts: 1,403
The error rate was actually found to be 89%, there was an error in his spreadsheet.
__________________
_______________________________________________
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
heeyy_joe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
timo2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Rio Rancho
Posts: 1,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by heeyy_joe View Post
The error rate was actually found to be 89%, there was an error in his spreadsheet.
In my lifelong professional experience, I've found that the most difficult task to get people to do is to check their work before submitting it to wherever.
__________________
"We live the lives we lead because of the thoughts we think" Michael O’Neill
timo2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 660
I catch errors in my own spreadsheets on occasion. The vast majority of them are in formulas on the summary screen, where I collect numbers from various locations and create totals by asset class. When my individual holdings change, I don't always remember to modify the formulas on the summary page. I'm aware of this tendency and usually do enough cross-checking to find the errors fairly quickly. But it's something I need to be vigilant about, since if my totals by asset class are off, I may be induced to perform some rebalancing that would be unjustified by the correct numbers.
__________________
karluk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 04:07 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,862
The first eight drafts of my spreadsheets have errors. The final draft is always perfect.
__________________
Animorph is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 05:59 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,587
87.6% of all statistics cited as examples are made up.
__________________
braumeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 07:16 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
I hates spreadsheets.
They remind me of suspense dates (deadlines) to fill in my portions, only to have the "new and improved" one sent back via email, with an even shorter suspense, and have to redo my entries all over again.
Snarl...
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 07:23 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,705
I once checked 26 spreadsheets I use to keep track of my assets. Ten had errors when the results were audited by my accountant.

I think my batting average of .615 is pretty high, much higher than every baseball great.
__________________
target2019 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by target2019 View Post
I once checked 26 spreadsheets I use to keep track of my assets.
This must be the famous couch potato plan.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2013, 09:37 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3,823
Quote:
Originally Posted by heeyy_joe View Post
The error rate was actually found to be 89%, there was an error in his spreadsheet.
Good one. I'm glad I clicked into this thread, hehe.

I put in =if(abs(sumxyx-sumabc)>1,"ERROR","")

Even though I'm an engineer by degree, I did a stint as a financial analyst for none other than I B Megacorp, hehe. Hated that job, but I got to be really good at (don't laugh) Lotus 1-2-3.
__________________
sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 10:17 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,258
Quote:
Originally Posted by target2019 View Post
I once checked 26 spreadsheets I use to keep track of my assets. Ten had errors when the results were audited by my accountant.

I think my batting average of .615 is pretty high, much higher than every baseball great.

An error is a fielding mistake and a .615 avg. would mean you would not be playing....
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 4,616
Timely post.

Today, an article that goes to the subject and points up possible far reaching effects of minor errors.

Meet the 28-year-old Student Who Exposed Two Harvard Professors Whose Shoddy Research Drove Global Austerity | Alternet

Don't know whether the conclusions are valid, but apparently the errors weren't caught.
__________________
Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again. - Eleanor Roosevelt
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 11:00 AM   #17
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,829
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
87.6% of all statistics cited as examples are made up.
The perfect comment, IMO.

Sadly, mathematical illiteracy seems widespread and at a shockingly high level these days. Consequently it would be very surprising to me to discover that only 88% of spreadsheets have errors.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 01:27 PM   #18
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 333
I can believe it. I'll admit, in the past, I have found errors in some of my spreadsheets. "Now" whenever I change a formula, make a major change or build a new spreadsheet, I'll test it with some simple tasks that I can easily verify with a calculator (or pencil and paper ) So far that seems to be working for me.
__________________
HighRoller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 02:00 PM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Fishers
Posts: 384
errors, what errors - my spreadsheets always give me the answers I want! oh wait maybe they should give me the correct answers instead.
__________________
wmc1000 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2013, 02:09 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 229
If my spreadsheets do not provide the answers I am expecting, I use an FF value. It really comes in handy. I Multiply or Divide the offending result by a FF value and my my results are what I expect. Sometimes this is an iterative process.


(FF = Fudge Factor)
__________________

__________________
Shanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:31 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.