Of course, the essential features of the electronic spreadsheet are inherited from its paper lineage, and the ontological purpose of all spreadsheets is the same, regardless of whether one is using an electronic or paper version of the tool. Nevertheless, it's interesting to compare the paper spreadsheet to its electronic successor in an effort to better understand why the spreadsheet remains essential to the practice of finance and accounting.
Below, you will find a short definition of the term “spreadsheet,” together with two download files – one is a facsimile of a paper spreadsheet, the other an electronic spreadsheet. Once you have downloaded both files, place them side-by-side on your monitor screen and then ask yourself the following question: Can one replace the spreadsheet without reinventing the spreadsheet? I look forward to your comments.
spread·sheet n. 1. A piece of paper with rows and columns for recording financial data for use in comparative analysis. 2. Computer Science An accounting or bookkeeping program that displays data in rows and columns on a screen.Paper Spreadsheet