They advocate confining the use of spreadsheets to data entry and storage—moving calculations and visualizations to other tools. This certainly avoids some of the biggest problems with using spreadsheets.
However, spreadsheets don’t enforce any discipline. It’s up to the user to be vigilant and do the right thing. People are bad at maintaining consistency. Computers are excellent at it. Why make it hard for ourselves?
Spreadsheets. Just say no.
Stratford Dick of Marsh ClearSight recently published an article describing how spreadsheets might be hurting your company. In his article he highlights the following risks.
- Spreadsheet development is time consuming
- It’s ridiculously easy to make typos
- Formatting inconsistencies can lead to misinterpretation of results
- As spreadsheets are mostly developed by individuals they’re not subject to formal checks and reviews
- Spreadsheets are rarely subject to version control—and are not really designed to be
- There is no enterprise-level security when using spreadsheets
- It can be time-consuming to extract and collate data from different spreadsheet models