Spreadsheets may have revolutionised the business world, but they have also opened it up to significant operational and financial risk. Human error at the input stage is not the only concern, with significant opportunity for accidental changes, tampering and unintended duplication or deletion at any time. Securing this business-critical information is essential for businesses to avoid compliance issues, improve their overall architecture and ultimately save time and money.
Here we take a look at the five main reasons why companies should secure their spreadsheets.
1) To reduce operational and financial risk
Recent history is rife with examples of significant financial losses and fines that have been directly attributed to spreadsheet errors. Whether it’s a mistake in a formula, an arithmetic error or an unintended duplication, the result is always the same – damage to the company’s bottom line and reputation. (The most infamous examples are JP Morgan and Societe Generale, who have both reportedly fallen victim to spreadsheet mismanagement, costing them US$7bn and EU4.6bn respectively.*) In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, keeping control of your business-sensitive information, and in turn your costs, has never been more important.
2) To maintain regulatory and financial compliance
For corporates large and small, spreadsheet risk management is primarily an exercise to ensure the financials are correct. However, for financial firms, the implementation and preservation of appropriate spreadsheet controls is referenced in a raft of relevant regulation, including Sarbanes Oxley, MiFID II and Solvency II. It is this threat of non-compliance and the ensuing fines, as well as damage to reputation, that has brought the issue to the fore. In addition, the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) has increased awareness amongst senior managers as the responsibility for compliance ultimately lies with them.
3) To remove duplication and ensure transparency
Used correctly, data can be a great asset to any business. However, for this to happen it needs to be accurate and reliable, and stored in an orderly and secure manner. This is particularly important under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which requires personal information to be protected.
Poor quality data can lead to bad decision making and mistakes, and ultimately financial losses and regulatory fines. In addition, knowing who owns, or is responsible, for specific data sets is essential to prevent opportunities for tampering or unintentional deletion.
4) To drive better business, IT and architectural decisions
Knowing what data you have and where it is stored is key to knowing how best to use it. As we’ve already said, accurate data can be a great asset when it comes to growing a business, targeting particular clients or even closing loss-making parts of a business. Correct spreadsheet management is also important when it comes to improving a business’ IT architecture. Spreadsheets such as Excel make up a large portion of a business’ shadow architecture – that is software programmes or systems that operate outside of the main IT department. Taking control of your spreadsheets also demonstrates best practice risk management and ultimately provides evidence to the company’s board that the issue is being taken seriously.
5) To save time and money
At a time when businesses are coming under increased pressure from all angles, keeping track of your costs has never been more important. With the right tools, taking control of your spreadsheets is a relatively simple task that can have substantial benefits for your organisation. In addition, ensuring your data is up-to-date and accurate can make a significant difference to the decisions management make and therefore the future of your business.
EUCplus addresses these issues
To address these concerns, we have developed EUCplus, a customisable, cloud-based application which registers, scans and secures your business-critical spreadsheets, ultimately saving you time, money and reducing your operational risk.
One of the key benefits of EUCplus is that is provides an executable policy which not only ensures compliance now, but also future-proofs your business against further compliance-related issues.
To find out more about what EUCplus can do to protect your business from operational and financial risk, email [email protected] or call 0203 693 2605 for a demonstration.