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The Real Cost Of Spreadsheet Errors

Did you know that more than 70 percent of Britain’s largest corporations use Excel to influence financial decision-making processes?

Excel has incredible benefits for businesses of all sizes, but installing the software doesn’t always guarantee success. As this infographic shows, an incredible 80 percent of spreadsheets contain errors. While minor mistakes may not prove too costly, more major errors can have a disastrous impact for companies and organisations. Take the examples of MI5, which made more than 1,000 bugging errors in 2010 as a result of a spreadsheet formatting mistake, and Barclays, which purchased 179 more contracts than it planned to when closing a deal with Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Spreadsheet errors are very common, and this could be due to the fact that very few people receive formal training in how to use Excel and get the best out of it. Only a third of decision-makers undertake spreadsheet training. Businesses could avoid potentially devastating errors by providing training and introducing policies related to checking spreadsheets before the information is shared. Errors that could have prevented by double checking formulas could prove incredibly costly, putting smaller firms out of business and damaging the reputation of even the most valuable enterprises. If you run a business, and you’re keen to cut out unexpected expenses caused by preventable spreadsheet problems, it’s wise to invest in training and ensure you have comprehensive policies in place to eliminate mistakes and ensure a rapid response to minimise the impact if anything does go wrong.


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