Devotees love spreadsheets for their directness. You click the formula that you want, edit it instantly and it updates, live. But their use can also lead to problems, as the UK retailer Marks and Spencer recently discovered to its cost. Columnist Lisa Pollack reports on the latest attempts to make spreadsheets more formal and professional

For a related column on this topic, visit's Lisa's page on ft.com.

Music credits: Whispering Through by Asura and Our Ego [Feat. Different Visitor] by Broke For Free

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