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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