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The Horror

Before programs like Excel, spreadsheets were filled in by hand. When a number was changed, any affiliated number also had to be changed, by hand. Nowadays, accountants are spoiled with Excel which updates changes to spreadsheets instantly.

Who Invented the Electronic Spreadsheet?

Dan Bricklin, who invented VisiCalc. When VisiCalc debuted, it had a monopoly on the spreadsheet industry. VisiCalc soon met its demise when competitors emerged like Microsoft Excel.

How did This Change the Accounting Industry?

Since 1980, the industry has seen a drop of 400,000 accounting clerks (the job entails writing numbers in columns by hand, and re-adding the numbers if anything changed). So, robots did replace humans in one aspect, but they also made accounting easier. This is why the industry saw 600,000 more jobs for accountants.


Learn more from Tim Harford.

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