In a recently published article (please see link to article below) of the Financial Times the author pointed out the danger that, although companies are more and more aware of internal as well as external risks, the basic information gathering and storing processes are full of errors. This due to the use of uncontrollable amounts of unsecured spreadsheets containing numerous errors. Although her article is based on a research study stemming from 2009, during the recent conference of the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group this position was reinforced.
From our extensive experience with internal processes on closing periods (quarter as well as annual), internal information requests, global loss positions combined with the use of all sorts of Excel related overviews, we acknowledge the difficulties and especially the danger of uncontrolable spreadsheets. Think about it. Who has access to your spreadsheets? Who can alter the spreadsheets? How do you know whether you are looking at version 3 or version 4? and so on…
As risk mitigation and transparant internal controls are turning into a common nescessity instead of a ‘nice to have’, we developed our own way of auditing the process as well as these Excel sheets by transforming them into controlable content in a secure and transparant environment. Define roles and responsibilities, gather worldwide data from one secure environment by use of a tailor-made and secured template.
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