Just one tiny spreadsheet error can snowball into a disaster for your company and for everyone responsible. No organization wants to suffer a material financial loss due to a spreadsheet error. And yet, most firms use ineffective, manual methods to find errors in their critical spreadsheets. There's a highly effective and much more productive way to detect and correct spreadsheet errors!
Why are you Wasting Time Manually Hunting for Errors in your Excel Spreadsheets?
Even a small spreadsheet error can snowball into a disaster for your company and for everyone responsible. You can’t afford an error in a model that drives strategic decisions, nor an Excel mistake that cascades through your financial reports.
Given that no organization wants to suffer a material financial loss due to a spreadsheet error, how do you ensure your critical spreadsheets are error-free?
If you’re like the hundreds of firms that CIMCON has worked with, your primary line of defense against spreadsheet errors is probably a precious resource known as 'intelligent people.' Yes, that’s right – most organizations still rely on manual efforts to detect the errors in their very complex spreadsheets.
Let me be unapologetically blunt: manual efforts are completely insufficient if you want to have error-free spreadsheets. There are three important reasons why a manual approach is flawed:
(1) Time intensive. It can take hours – even days – to fully check a complex, business critical spreadsheet for errors. How many times are spreadsheets checked and re-checked before they are passed further up the chain? What is the effort required to manually maintain a model inventory list and keep it current? Here at CIMCON, we talk to people every day who say they spend way too much time making sure that errors don't appear in critical spreadsheets. For some people, it can be their entire job!
(2) High opportunity cost. Manually checking for errors is a poor, tactical use of intelligent people. Think about it… What strategic projects could these highly intelligent people tackle if you could recapture all those hours of manually checking & rechecking spreadsheets for errors?
(3) Error prone. Manually checking for errors is error prone. Isn't that ironic? Manual efforts rarely mitigate the inherent risks. Because human error is the #1 cause of spreadsheet error. All humans are fallible (and there’s nothing wrong with that). But as responsible business professionals, we need to recognize this fact and set up our organizations – and processes – for error-free spreadsheet success.
What’s the solution? A 2018 survey by Risk.net found that the majority of Operational Risk Heads put “data integrity” at the top of their list of concerns. Putting aside the models and tools for a moment, should you now demand even more scrutiny of the spreadsheets used in data transformation? Perhaps a “6 eyes” peer review to mitigate those “feeder spreadsheet” errors even further?
It’s a vicious cycle… more checks, more time, more resources, more lost opportunity. And what happens in an emergency? What if you're asked for a debtors list to be ready for tomorrow? Can you gather the data and get 6 eyes on it in the next 8 hours?
Error-free spreadsheets, along with proper governance, should not require a heavy, manual, labor-intensive process. The whole point of end-user computing is to improve the productivity of your best resources. Don’t dilute one of your best competitive advantages by burdening your team with manual, risk mitigation processes.
There is a better way to keep critical spreadsheets error free! There are very simple measures – automated measures - that can be adopted to ensure spreadsheet errors are found and fixed. Better controls will keep the errors from happening again. And you can be highly productive at the same time. You will be able to focus on strategic projects rather than spending hours on the tactical tasks of manually checking your spreadsheets for errors.
Speak to a member of our CIMCON team to learn how spreadsheet risk management software can help you automatically find and eliminate spreadsheet errors, thus freeing up your precious resources. Or you can also try finding errors yourself with a free, 14-day trial of CIMCON’s XLAudit software.