But wait just a minute. Forbes suggests that Excel might be “the most dangerous software on the planet” and Fortune accuses Excel of “ruining the world.” If it’s so popular, why the harsh criticism?
Click through to get your facts straight and find out why Excel is really not helping your business excel.
1. It’s not as easy as it looks.
90% of all large spreadsheets contain serious errors. Excel is very unforgiving of errors. Users have up to a 1.79% chance of making an error per cell. Multiply that by hundreds and thousands of cells and you end up with a hot mess.
2. Spellcheck? Not for numbers.
What makes matters worse is that there is no automated self-checking process in Excel. Users must do their own tests and implement them correctly which can lead to even more mistakes.
JP Morgan Chase had to learn this the hard way when in 2012, the company suffered a $6.2 billion trading loss that was traced back to a spreadsheet that had a user error. Yikes!
3. Copy and paste? Really?
If we trace that JP Morgan Chase debacle further, we’ll eventually find the quantitative analyst who was manually copying and pasting data from one Excel sheet to another. Excel requires a lot of manual data entry, which encourages users to cut and paste information.
This not only opens the door for a lot of mistake to occur, but to compound and spiral out of control.
4. No collaboration = no bueno.
Spreadsheets are often collaborative efforts made across teams. But without an ability to track changes in Excel, users may inadvertently insert duplicate or erroneous data without other users knowing. This leads to team members having mismatched versions of the same spreadsheet.
5. The need for speed.
Though Excel looks like a database, it doesn’t function in the same way and cannot handle the large amounts of information as effectively as one. It tends to slow down drastically when it is overburdened with data.
6. The last black mark: security.
Excel is vulnerable to fraud due to an inherent lack of controls over who can edit cells. Like any software, Excel is occasionally released with weaknesses that go unnoticed until they are exploited by hackers.