88% of spreadsheets contain errors claims BBC radio report
This morning, in the few moments left over from coverage on the birth of the latest royal baby, the BBC’s flagship news programme ‘Today’, featured an interview about some of the biggest spreadsheet horror stories. They quoted the chilling statistic that 88% of spreadsheets contain some sort of error.
The interview focused on errors in data and formatting. For example, Oxford University confused students’ exam results with their registration numbers leading to the wrong candidates being invited for interviews. MI5, the UK security agency, bugged the wrong phone numbers due to spreadsheet formatting errors.
At Active Risk we’ve long contended that using spreadsheets for risk management is a really bad idea. And, as the importance of risk information in corporate decision making increases, then not only data and formatting errors cause problems, but spreadsheets’ inherent lack of security, auditability and possibilities for collaboration make them a liability rather than an asset.
You wouldn’t take strategic decisions based on financial accounts kept on spreadsheets unless you worked for the smallest of organization – yet some of the largest businesses and projects still accept risk data from spreadsheets, when making crucial decisions.
If you need more evidence to help convince your organization to take risk management seriously by moving away from spreadsheets, then download our paper ‘Why Spreadsheets Are Destroying Your Business’.
Listen to the BBC interview (4 minutes) here.

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