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Moving Beyond the Limitations of Spreadsheets

Engineers today frequently perform calculations by hand, on calculators and by writing customised programs using spreadsheets. The appeal of the spreadsheet lies in its ubiquity as a productivity application that resides on virtually every PC shipped today.

However, ubiquity does not equal reliability or auditability. In fact, Coopers and Lybrand found 90% of all spreadsheets comprised of more than 150 rows contained errors. In another alarming study, KPMG found 91% of 22 spreadsheets taken from an industry sample contained errors. This can be especially problematic in engineering organisations where the cost of an error can go far beyond dollars and cents.

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