The spreadsheet was the first "killer app", the application which led to millions of people buying their first personal computers in the early 1980s. Spreadsheets were a brilliant innovation for replacing accountants' paper spreadsheets. But, they are poorly suited for serious quantitative modeling - for business models and policy analysis. Empirical studies show that more than half of spreadsheets in regular operational use have serious errors. Twenty-five years after the release of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet, it is time for something better.
This paper describes ten major deficiencies of spreadsheet applications, with examples using Microsoft Excel. It shows how these problems lead to high error rates, lack of transparency, gross inefficiency, inflexibility, and inadequate handling of multiple dimensions and uncertainty. For each problem, it shows how to cure it with software designed specifically for serious quantitative modeling, using examples from Analytica.
- Max Henrion, PhD, the CEO of Lumina and originator of Analytica
Download "What's Wrong With Spreadsheets"
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