Almost 90% of Spreadsheets Have Errors

A number of surveys and reports over recent years have revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) spreadsheets have errors.

Risks with spreadsheets aren’t just the result of inaccurate data – they can also mean incorrect formulas have been used or even using the wrong spreadsheet entirely!

The European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group (EuSpRIG) deals specifically with spreadsheet errors and holds an annual conference in London.

In an interview with MarketWatch, EuSpRIG’s chairman, Patrick O’Beirne, said: “Chainsaws are also a very good tool, but who would use one without a chain guard[?]

He added: “People don’t take safeguards to ensure their work is correct — in fact, in many cases, all it would take to catch these errors is a second set of eyes.”

How can you minimise spreadsheet errors?

When it comes to accounting even a small error in your spreadsheet can result in a hefty fine from HMRC.

If you’re concerned that your spreadsheets could contain errors when it’s time to file, there are steps you can take to help you reduce the likelihood of submitting an incorrect tax return.

Hire in an accountant

The first thing to make sure you do before submitting accounts is get another pair of eyes to look over them. Of course, the more experienced the better, which is why hiring an accountant will be your best bet for reducing errors.

While you may reel away in terror, we promise – there are plenty of affordable accountants out there. An accountant doesn’t have to cost the earth and they’ll save you a fortune in fines you may receive without them.

The most common error when it comes to submitting Self Assessment Tax Returns is inaccurate figures – so it’s important do everything in your power to ensure you’re as accurate with your returns as possible. If you think it’s time to hire an accountant check out our partners, The Accountancy Partnership.

Monitor accounts

Hiring an accountant may mean you’ve got some helping hands to get you through the tax season, but it doesn’t mean you can become oblivious to them. You should still have an idea of what your accounts should look like.

Regularly checking and updating your accounts will mean you’ll have a more robust understanding of where your accounts are.

Even if you decide to continue using spreadsheets, regularly checking accounts will mean you have a rough understanding of the company finances and will be able to see any blatant errors.

Use cloud accounting software

And if all else fails, we strongly recommend using cloud accounting software – but then, we would!

While spreadsheets can be useful, there are more advanced technologies available for those looking to complete their accounts.

Rather than waste time on a spreadsheet that could easily have errors, use some of the technology to your advantage and make use of cloud accounting software. Many solutions have inbuilt software ready to detect any manual errors, so already you’ll be one step ahead!


Beth Jackson

AAT Level 3 qualified, I’ve worked in the finance sector since 2017. When I'm not in Pandle HQ, you'll find me hiking and playing the drums.


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