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I’ve LOL’ed before at the idea of blaming the financial crisis on too much reliance on Excel, but James Kwak does have some balanced and intelligent thoughts about it, and its problems, here.
It still has always seemed to me that to focus on the Use Of Spreadsheets is to go for the capillary when it comes to financial-sector leverage, ‘innovation’ and bubble-blowing. It’s a symptom rather than a cause, and it’s a tool for shenanigans, perhaps an enabling one – but it’s just not the shenanigans themselves. Moreover, as Kwak points out, you can never really get rid of spreadsheets:
For all the talk about end-to-end financial suites like SAP, Oracle, and Peoplesoft, at the end of the day people do financial analysis by extracting data from those back-end systems and shoving it around in Excel spreadsheets.
Exactly. Imagine the most perfect Secure Spreadsheet Replacement, and now imagine every single user on a day to day basis mostly using it to scrape numbers out of it so that they can actually play with the numbers.
In a spreadsheet.
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