Spreadsheets have errors like dogs have fleas. It is generally accepted that spreadsheets suffer some error, and consequences can be severe. A person cannot eliminate errors from the spreadsheets that he or she develops, but the person can reduce their number. There have been other attempts to define a standard set of rules of spreadsheet style, and there is no reason that spreadsheet style cant evolve over time. But even though recent thinking is that no one set of rules will work in all cases, this paper attempts to distill some basic principles and techniques that apply everywhere.
Spreadsheets have been in their present form for over a quarter of a century. It may serve one well to stand back for a moment to review where, when and how one use spreadsheets in the financial markets. The purpose of this white paper is to give an overview of the uses to which spreadsheets are put in large organizations and major businesses operating within the City of London. The aim is to make as explicit as is possible within the bounds of commercial confidentiality the reliance that is placed upon spreadsheets within one of the worlds largest financial markets.