Category Archives: Events

SEMS program

The SEMS program is complete. Join us on July 2nd at the TU Delft, EWI Building (building 36) in Lecture Hall M.

Start Activity/speaker Title
9:00 Welcome
9:05 Raymond Panko Improving Methods in Spreadsheet Error Research
9:25 Birgit Hofer, Dietmar Jannach, Thomas Schmitz, Kostyantyn Shchekotykhin and Franz Wotawa Tool-supported fault localization in spreadsheets: Limitations
of current research practice
9:45 Thomas Levine Automatically assessing the relevance, quality, and usability
of spreadsheets
10:10 Break
10:40 Peter Sestoft End-user development via sheet-defined functions
11:05 Bas Jansen and Felienne Hermans Using a Visual Language to Create Better Spreadsheets
11:30 Jacome Cunha, Joao Fernandes, Jorge Mendes, Rui
Pereira and José Saraiva
MDSheet – Model-Driven Spreadsheets
11:50 Lunch
13:20 Birgit Hofer and Franz Wotawa On the Usage of Dependency-based Models for Spreadsheet
13:45 Sohon Roy and Felienne Hermans Dependence Tracing Techniques for Spreadsheets: An
14:10 Dietmar Jannach, Thomas Schmitz and Kostyantyn Shchekotykhin Toward Interactive Spreadsheet Debugging
14:35 Break
15:05 Joeri van Veen and Felienne Hermans Anonymizing Spreadsheet Data and Metadata with AnonymousXL
15:25 Pablo Palma SBBRENG: Spreadsheet Based Business Rule Engine
15:45 Richard Paige, Dimitris Kolovos and Nicholas Matragkas Spreadsheets are models too
16:05 Break
16:35 Raymond Panko Are We Overconfident in Our Understanding of Overconfidence?
16:55 Daniel Kulesz A Spreadsheet Cell-Type Model for Testing
17:15 Thomas Levine Sheetmusic: Making music from spreadsheets
17:35 Closing, what’s next?
19:00 Conference dinner, TU Delft Sports & Culture CENTER

Notes for speakers:

  • Please allow for at least 5 minutes of questions. So for long papers (25 minute slots) prepare about 20 minutes of content and for short papers (20 min) prepare 15 minutes maximum. Times will be strictly enforced!
  • You can use your own laptop if you want, but we will bring one (Windows) laptop also.
  • Feel free to go above and beyond the content of your paper. If you did additional studies or built additional tools in the mean time, please tell us!

Eusprig/SEMS hotels

For the two spreadsheet events we are hosting this July, we have reserved rooms and made price arrangements with several hotels in Delft.

Hotel Juliana

Special rates:
Single room €76,50 per night
Double room € 85,50 per night for 1 person or € 95,60 per night for two people

Bookings can be made until June 1st, with discount code TUEvent 2014

Hotel Leeuwenbrug

If you book at with code TUEvent2014, you will get a discount of 10% on current room rates.

Museumhotel Delft

If you reserve via email and indicate you are a participant of a TU Delft event, you will get a 20% discount.

Westcord Hotel Delft

Standard room for €101, if you reserve via email or phone.


Standard room (comfort) €104.50 for one person, €114.50 for two
Deluxe room €119.50 for one person, €129.50 for two

Reservations can be made with code “TUEvent2014” per email or phone +31 (0)15-2122125

SEMS accepted papers published

The following papers have been accepted for publication at SEMS 14:

  • Birgit Hofer, Dietmar Jannach, Thomas Schmitz, Kostyantyn Shchekotykhin and Franz Wotawa. Tool-supported fault localization in spreadsheets: Limitations of current research practice
  • Dietmar JannachThomas Schmitz and Kostyantyn Shchekotykhin. Toward Interactive Spreadsheet Debugging
  • Raymond Panko. Improving Methods in Spreadsheet Error Research
  • Richard PaigeDimitris Kolovos and Nicholas Matragkas. Spreadsheets are models too
  • Birgit Hofer and Franz Wotawa. On the Usage of Dependency-based Models for Spreadsheet Debugging
  • Daniel Kulesz. A Spreadsheet Cell-Type Model for Testing
  • Pablo Palma. SBBRENG: Spreadsheet Based Business Rule Engine
  • Peter Sestoft. End-user development via sheet-defined functions
  • Sohon Roy and Felienne Hermans. Dependence Tracing Techniques for Spreadsheets: An Investigation
  • Jácome CunhaJoao FernandesJorge Mendes, Rui Pereira and João Saraiva. MDSheet – Model-Driven Spreadsheets
  • Thomas Levine. Automatically assessing the relevance, quality, and usability of spreadsheets
  • Thomas Levine. Sheetmusic: Making music from spreadsheets
  • Raymond Panko. Are We Overconfident in Our Understanding of Overconfidence?
  • Joeri van Veen and Felienne Hermans. Anonymizing Spreadsheet Data and Metadata with AnonymousXL
  • Bas Jansen and Felienne Hermans. Using a Visual Language to Create Better Spreadsheets

Program Eusprig 2014 announced

We are very proud to announce the preliminary program of the annual conference of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group.This year, we will have a one day, two track conference on Thursday July 3rd.

In addition to the plenary keynote sessions, there is one track is focused on mitigating risks in spreadsheets and the other on building better spreadsheets.

Time Room Chip Plenary and Risk track Room Data Building track
9:00 Coffee and Welcome – Felienne Hermans
9:30 SheetMusic – Thomas Levine
10:00 Financial optimization and long term control of complex real estate projects – Johan Cuppen – Sponsored by Invantive
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Testing and refactoring spreadsheets – Felienne Hermans
11:30 Exploring the limits of Excel – Eloy Caballero Scenario Tools in Excel – Tony de Jonker
12:00 Mapping of the financial modeling ecosystem in large scale infrastructure projects – Haydn Palliser, Rickard Warnelid Bjoern Stiel – SpreadGit
12:30 Lunch – Sponsored by Infotron
13:30 The FAST standard – Emily Cowan Zero Effort Excel Models – Henk Vlootman
14:00 Demo track – FastExcel V3, Spreadsheet Inspection Framework, Morphit Enterprise, RefTreeAnalyser, AraSense Spreadsheet vs ERP – where does the balance lie? – Jon Kidd
14:30 Demo track continued
15:00 Coffee break
15:30 Spreadsheet Inspection (Auditing): Why, How, and How Much? – Ray Panko
16:00 What’s new in Excel 2013 – Steve Kraynak, Leif Brenne
16:45 Closing and drinks, /PUB EWI building
18:30 Conference Dinner, Boterhuis, Markt 15-17a, 2611 GP Delft

Session details

SheetMusic – Thomas Levine

The spreadsheet is an intuitive paradigm for the expression of musical scores. I’ll discuss how you can turn data into music with our Sheetmusic software and show examples of how csv soundsystem turns spreadsheets into data-driven music videos.

Playing with computers since he was young, Tom eventually developed back and wrist pain, so he started studying ergonomics and conducting quantitative ergonomics research. At some point, people started calling him a data scientist. And his back and wrists now hurt less. He has recently been playing music and studying how people share data.

Financial optimization and long term control of complex real estate projects – Jaap Labrie

Ballast Nedam’s primary business is mainly focused on large real estate and infrastructural projects. Projects become more complex due to their increasing size, duration and environmental constraints. Therefore Ballast Nedam has a strategic focus on major integrated complex projects. Mr. Jaap Labrie describes how Microsoft Excel is used in business critical processes to support the focus on major integrated complex projects by the Ballast Nedam Development Company. The Excel add-on Invantive Control enables Microsoft Excel to be used in business critical processes during the acquisition and execution phases of projects, including land bank risk management. This avoids continuity risks such as incorrect, unrealistic or intransparant financial numbers, but also avoids compliance issues. Financial engineering during the acquisition phase, as well as financial controlling during all phases is being demonstrated, using Microsoft Excel, Invantive Control, Invantive Estate and Palisade’s @RISK.

Zero Effort Excel Models – Henk Vlootman

If you want Excel do the job (of calculating and working), there are several mandatory rules. In this session I will discuss the importance of some of these rules. The goal is to create a logical process beginning with the input and ending at the output. The bottom line will be Excel models, which are effortless in use and will keep you – as designer / builder – always in control. If you invest more time (and thoughts) about the model you are about to make, in the end the more profits you benefit while working with that model.

Henk Vlootman is trainer since 1994 in Excel for managers throughout the world in the Dutch or English language. In 2013 he was awarded the Microsoft Excel MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award. Besides training he is author of Excel books: “Excel Models for financial economic information” and “Excelleren (Learning Excel), the Vlootman method in practice.” With Michiel Rozema (Microsoft, The Netherlands), he wrote the “Practice Book PowerPivot in Excel.” In Excel or BI (Power pivot) conferences he acts as chairman, he provides keynotes and substantive contributions.

Exploring the limits of Excel – Eloy Caballero

Though generally acknowledged as flexible, open and powerful, especially when its VBA capabilities are considered, Excel has natural limits, both internal (version related) and external (machine related); limits that every experienced user and developer should be aware of. Using my own experience and also additional information gathered from the web, I intend to present an ordered set of practical examples showing Excel’s internal limitations: first as a simple spreadsheet software (including native utilities, such as Goal Seek) and second as a VBA capable environment. I’ll use simple data manipulation techniques, easy mathematical calculations and basic VBA programming structures, to take Excel to certain real “limit-situations”. We’ll see how and when it crashes or fails to perform an apparently simple task; if it recovers and provides information about what’s going on; how its performance compares to products such as Open Office (as a spreadsheet) or VB Studio (as a programming interface). Hopefully, we will be able to derive useful information that will allow us to have a better understanding of Excel’s natural constraints, and help us improve the adequacy and stability of our models and projects.

I got a Master’s degree in civil engineering in 1993 (Madrid UPM). I worked as a Technical Project Manager on site for a big consulting company for 10 years; then I was transferred to Tenders and Bids, where I remained for about 6 years; and some three years ago I moved away from the civil engineering industry and started my own company in the area of real estate management. I run a website on Science:, where I also write about the History of Science and, finally, I have my website:, where I make video-tutorials and develop Excel utilities and publish articles about Microsoft Excel. I’m 47 and I live in Madrid with my wife and my son, who is eleven now.

Tony de Jonker – Scenario tools in Excel

Tony De Jonker is pricincipal of De Jonker Consultancy and offers finance support, Excel development and training to national and international clients. He is host and co-founder of the annual Excel Experience Day and speaker at the annual Office TrainerTage in Lucern and the Excel Anwendertage in Fulda. Tony offers a range of Excel related training courses such as Master Class, Dashboards, Investment Analysis, Cash Flow Forecasting, Financial Modelling and InfoCharts.

Mapping of the financial modeling ecosystem in large scale infrastructure projects – Haydn Palliser, Rickard Warnelid

The role of financial models in Infrastructure projects – from technical feasibility to completion
Infrastructure is a big topic of 2014 all over the world. With numerous new infrastructure project development underway, and a surge of transaction activity we have experienced a drastic increase in demand for services related to financial modelling in the infrastructure sector. Corality works with infrastructure companies, investors and asset managers to provide powerful and transparent analysis of existing infrastructure and utility assets for financial reporting, valuations, investments or re-financing. We also support project development teams and PPP/PFI bid consortia with financial modelling, commercial advice, transaction support and financial model audits to ensure that the right decisions are made at each stage of the project. This presentation shares our experience in the topic of ‘The role of financial models in Infrastructure projects – from technical feasibility to completion’. The presentation will cover a number of common challenges relating to the world of financial modelling and analysis
• How to develop a financial modelling ecosystem combining needs for Excel and other systems?
• How many financial models do we need, and who should ‘own’ them?
• Which stakeholders should be consulted in the development process?
• How to agree on a consistent framework for evaluation of transaction opportunities?
It can be challenging for large scale Infrastructure Project to balance the requirements of investment bankers wanting to do a deal, accountants wanting to optimise depreciation rates, CFOs looking to please Senior Banks and CEOs looking for ways to increase the IRR. The presentation will aim to shed some light on the complexities and to recommend a framework for progress.

Haydn Palliser is a Director in Corality’s London office. Haydn is a Chartered Professional Engineer with ~10 years’ experience across engineering, management consulting and finance. He has led projects with capital costs up to USD40bn across infrastructure, mining and power in Australia, Asia, North America, Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand. Haydn specialises in strategic consulting and transaction advisory services. He has also trained many analysts of major companies in financial modelling and project finance including JPMorgan, ANZ Bank, KEPCO, Lend Lease, Union Bank, RBS, PwC, Credit Suisse and Broadcast Australia.

Bjoern Stiel – Version control for spreadsheets – A (not so) fresh take on an old problem

Version control and continuous integration have become de-facto standards in software engineering. Source control gives developers control over changes to their source code, removes the friction of team collaboration and is vitally important for locating and fixing bugs. For developers, it is unthinkable to work without revision control. Yet when it comes to spreadsheets, the best we seem to have come up with so far is file name timestamping and keeping long lists of file versions. This talk gives an overview of source control and collaboration concepts. We start off with a brief introduction to graph theory, cover basic version design concepts and move on to the question why spreadsheets are stubbornly tricky beasts to version control. We will cover practical examples and discuss how to integrate version control (and continuous integration) into our workflow .
Bjoern Stiel is the Founder and CEO of Berlin and London based, a version control system for spreadsheets. Prior to starting spreadgit he worked at UBS Investment Bank in London for six years. He started his career as a rapid application and quant developer in the equities division and later moved into commodity index trading. Bjoern has extensive first hand experience in building, maintaining and integrating complex spreadsheet applications. At UBS, he was responsible for building the commodity index risk and trading systems and helped it grow to a multi billion dollar book. Bjoern is still a hands on developer and passionate about anything Excel and Python related. He holds a Master degree in Business Economics and in Financial Engineering.

The FAST standard – Emily Cowan

Excel has many capabilities with few limitations. That is its beauty, but also its risk. Financial modelling has often been seen as a ‘dark art’ where modellers create their own rules and approaches. The results are sometimes wonderful, but often incomprehensible to anyone but the model builder. If modellers are only recognised for the value of their spreadsheet engineering, they may be motivated to create ever more complicated and opaque models. This may be creating the wrong incentives.

This is one of many reasons why companies have seen a benefit from adopting a common language for financial modelling. By getting modellers to follow a shared standard, better models can be developed in less time, with fewer errors. The FAST Standard has been developed over the last 16 years and continues to evolve through the collaboration of many individuals and companies. FAST is devised with collaboration and the reviewer in mind, so every step is created for ease of review and future use. FAST models are intended to be as simple as they can be, but no simpler,

The FAST Standard is an open source, ‘live’ Standard that is moderated by a handful of companies, including Grant Thornton, Mazars, Rebel Group. It is administered by the FAST Standard Organisation (FSO), a not for profit entity created to promote and evolve the FAST Standard. The FSO is also developing accreditations and is actively pushing forward the vision of an industry standard within the spreadsheet community.

Emily Cowan, CFA is the Director of the FSO. Emily separately a trainer of the FAST Standard through F1F9. Emily is an Aussie who has lived in London for 6 years. She has been modelling for a decade and a half, with a particular focus on infrastructure modelling, but also corporate finance, valuation and business modelling. Emily previously worked for Grant Thornton UK, in the Government and Infrastructure Advisory team. When Emily became the head of the GT UK GIA financial modelling team in late 2009, she saw an opportunity to implement the FAST standard within the team, to move away from the dark arts approach to financial modelling, and to maximise commercial efficiency, risk management and collaboration within the team and with internal and external clients. Emily previously worked for Macquarie Bank, Transurban – the world’s largest toll road investor – and the Australian Federal Department of Finance. She is a CFA Charterholder and holds Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Arts.

Spreadsheet vs ERP – where does the balance lie? – Jon Kidd

The development of spreadsheets and ERP systems have taken parallel paths in their histories to date. Often, spreadsheets have been used to bridge temporary gaps in the functionality of Enterprise systems, and these temporary, tactical ‘bridges’ become permanent and strategic over time – weakening Enterprise Management, Governance and Resilience. This paper will examine the problem in more detail, and what pragmatic steps can be taken to achieve the right balance between spreadsheets and ERP systems – thereby reducing Enterprise risk.

Jon serves as Managing Director of ToutSuite- a cloud service company based in Londonmand is working with a number of key clients in designing and delivering their strategic change programmes. He is a Chartered Engineer, and has a range of academic and professional qualifications including a Fellowship in Manufacturing Management, MSP Practitioner, EFQM, and CMMI. John possesses over 25 years of experience leading strategic transformation programmes for a wide range of businesses in multiple geographies.
Having served in the Royal Navy, Jon went on to design and deliver weapons systems for GEC Marconi and there led transformation of the manufacturing divisions through ERP systems, SPC, and Six Sigma. From there, he became CIO for Walt Disney in EMEA and led the consolidation and integration of the European IT business including global piloting on the shared services IT platform. He subsequently managed major IT programmes at Xansa for clients including Barclaycard and British Telecom, before joining Barclays as Head of Global Applications Management. Jon then relocated to the Middle East as the founding CEO of the Abu Dhabi Government’s shared services company, Musanada—providing property construction and maintenance, and technology and business services to all Government departments in the Emirate. Upon returning to the UK, he took on the role of Global Operations Director for Mastek and later as Strategic Account Director for Capita in local government services outsourcing transition and transformation. He then worked at MorganFranklin in their EMEA office on a number of strategic technology assignments for blue-chip clients before leaving to set up his own company .

Spreadsheet Inspection (Auditing): Why, How, and How Much? – Ray Panko

Despite massive and unanimous evidence that most spreadsheets are wrong and in fact probably have material errors, companies continue to avoid doing the comprehensive testing done in software development, where error types, commission rates, and detection rates are similar. Typical rationalizations are that the error problem cannot possibly be as bad as the data indicate, that they are above such error rates, or that they are doing “a lot of testing.”

This session is for companies that feel differently and wish to consider doing comprehensive testing. It focuses on spreadsheet inspection (SI), which is analogous to code inspection in software development. In spreadsheets, a form of error removal, auditing, is similar but not as comprehensive.

Before discussing SI, the session will discuss the causes of the Great Spreadsheet Paradox (GSP)—that spreadsheet developers are unmoved by strong evidence of a spreadsheet error crisis. The paper then presents a formula for estimating how much time companies should spend on spreadsheets of various sizes if they wish to achieve a target cell error rate (CER) of about 0.1%.

The session will then present an SI methodology based on current versions of Fagan software code inspection. It will present evidence from two spreadsheet inspections that SI is likely to be successful. It also discusses how future SI experiments should be done to avoid problems in current inspection (auditing) methodologies.

The session will end with a brief discussion of how to do dynamic testing on spreadsheets using Microsoft Visual Studio or something like it rather than using VBA within Excel.

What’s new in Excel 2013 – Steve Kraynak, Leif Brenne

Learn about new developments and features in Microsoft Excel.  In this session, we will discuss, answer questions and demonstrate several powerful new capabilities of Excel, including Spreadsheet Management, PowerBI (PowerPivot, PowerQuery, PowerView), real-time coauthoring, and others.

Leif joined Microsoft in 2001. He first focused on financial reporting for the Dynamics Product line. He was part of the team that created PerformancePoint with the focus on Dashboard and Analytics which became PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint in 2010. For Office 2013 he was a PM lead with the focus on enhancing BI in Excel and Excel Services, including integrating Power BI into Excel.
Leif is currently a lead on the team that delivers BI and Spreadsheet control functionality to Excel. He lives and works in Redmond, WA.

Steve joined Microsoft in 2011 as part of the acquisition of the Prodiance Corporation, a leader in the field of spreadsheet control software, where he was instrumental in guiding the company’s suite of applications to meet customer requirements. Steve has brought his extensive knowledge of the real-world usage of these applications to Microsoft, where he continues to lead the ongoing development of these tools for Office.

First workshop on Software Engineering methods in Spreadsheets


Co-located with the Annual conference of the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group in Delft , the First workshop on Software Engineering methods in Spreadsheets (SEmS ’14) will take place on Wednesday July 2nd.

We aim for an interactive workshop with a program that allows us to discuss the future directions of spreadsheet research.

For the workshop, we invite researchers and practitioners interested in the field of spreadsheet to submit. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Design and implementation of spreadsheet systems
  • Integration of spreadsheet systems with other types of systems
  • Managing large legacy spreadsheets
  • Spreadsheet testing
  • Error-finding in spreadsheets
  • Spreadsheet refactoring
  • Methods for spreadsheet engineering like scrum or domain-driven design


We solicit three types of papers for the workshop:

Research papers (4 pages) that present novel research ideas and early results
Position papers (2 pages) that raise open issues with the potential to stimulate discussion at the workshop and
Tool demos (2 pages) that present exciting spreadsheet tools that bring insight into the questions addressed by the workshop

All papers are to be submitted via EasyChair and should follow the ACM SIG guidelines.

Deadline: February 28th March 7th, anywhere on earth
Notification: March 28th
Workshop: July 2nd


Peter Sestoft, IT University of Copenhagen
Richard Paige, University of York
Felienne Hermans, Delft University of Technology

If you have any questions, comment below or contact us on

Annual Eusprig meeting will take place in Delft, July 3 and 4

On Thursday 3rd of July, we will host the Annual gathering of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group – EuSpRIG – (“yew-sprig”). The conference will consist of international keynotes, interesting talks, in-depth hands-on sessions and intriguing discussions will be on the program. And you can be too.

If you want to present your take on spreadsheets and spreadsheet risk, you can! The call for sessions is now open.

The intended audience of our conference are professionals that encounter spreadsheets in their daily work. The analyst who builds large models in spreadsheets but sometimes struggles to maintain them, the auditor that wonders if they are correct, and the CFO that would like to move to a BI solution but does not know how the spreadsheets fit in.

We invite both researchers and practitioners in the field of spreadsheets to send us the outline for a 45 minute talk.

Topics of your talk could be: Note that the conference is not limited to these topics. If you are in doubt if your idea is a good fit, feel free to contact me.

  • testing and quality assurance of spreadsheets
  • best practices for spreadsheet design
  • improving spreadsheet productivity
  • approaches for spreadsheet education (both in schools/universities as for professionals)
  • auditing of spreadsheets
  • version control of spreadsheets
  • graphs, charts and data visualization
  • replacement, migration and improvement strategies
  • coping with big sets of spreadsheets: discovery, dependencies and usage monitoring
  • understanding and documenting existing spreadsheets
  • organisational experiences with enterprise policies
  • human & psychological factors including change management, assumptions, abstraction, interpretation, denial, overconfidence, culture, behaviour, attitudes, fraud & human resource management
  • extension technologies – PowerPivot, VBA, ADO, Excel Services, BI and Web-enabling

Regardless of the topic, we invite two types of talks. Either your talk is a technology talk or your talk is an experience talk.

  1. Technology talks present a certain spreadsheets method or tool, like a set of guidelines for spreadsheet design or a reverse engineering tool. In such a talk, you present the need for this method, details on how it works and the benefits.
  2. Experience talks share your history with a certain spreadsheet or spreadsheet problem. You talk for instance about how you managed to roll out a design methodology at your company or how you migrated all your customers spreadsheets to Excel 2010.

Of course, there is some overlap, an experience talk will introduce technologies and a technology talk might share experiences. Still, we ask you to pick on upon submission.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line at

The tiny print

  • Submission deadline for sessions: February 28th
  • Acceptance notice: March 31th
  • Full program online: April 2rd
  • Conference July 3rd and 4th

I am submitting, what to do?

Great! Just fill out this form. By submitting a proposal, you commit to presenting at conference.