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April 18, 2013

Quants and Analysts, Beware! | 88% of Spreadsheets Contain Errors

It has long been known in the financial industry that "spreadsheet risk" is a huge source of operational error. Even where processes are highly automated, there's always that legacy VBA/Excel tool that was built 3 years ago, and is still being used in production. The development team still haven't got around to integrating it into code yet, because it isn't considered urgent or important enough. Until an analyst forgets to hit  "Shift + F9" one day, and clients come rushing in to ask why their numbers are billions of dollars off. And then, all of a sudden, integrating this VBA/Excel tool finds itself at the front of the development queue… I saw this article in my LinkedIn news feed this morning. I didn't think the number was quite that high, but it makes one think again before using VBA/Excel tools in production processes. (I have to ask, though–  how can we trust this headline? What if the spreadsheet used to reach the 88% figure contained an error??) -Ben L.


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