Friday, April 19, 2013

Error Checking

Two economists, feeling audacious,
Said that GDP's headed for stasis,
But the flaws that befell
Their work in Excel
Put their claims on an incorrect basis.

Economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart were embarrassed this week when it turned out that their advocacy for federal debt reduction was based on error-laden Excel spreadsheets. As Heidi Moore reminds us in The Guardian: "The fact that economics spits out cold, hard numbers should not fool us that it produces the cold, hard truth." There is another cold, hard truth we should be concerned about, though: business relies on Excel spreadsheets to a great degree, and many of them contain material errors. You may be reaching ill-founded conclusions based on failed formulas right now.

If you would heed my sage advice,
Then check your work, not once, but twice.

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