Spreadsheets will always play an important role in business, but sometimes things just don’t work quite as well as expected. What starts out as a tactical solution to an immediate problem can quickly result in a set of workbooks that are difficult to manage and maintain. Without clear governance features like version control and traceability, spreadsheets can represent an unwanted risk to your function. With recent industry reports** highlighting the substantial risks and error incidences of large and complex spreadsheets, organisations are increasingly looking to address this vulnerability. Accountagility provides finance friendly alternatives that address these risks and respect the need for flexibility.
Nobody can deny the advances that the spreadsheet has brought to the Finance function. Excel celebrated its 30th birthday in 2015, and it has indisputably enabled Finance departments everywhere to manage ever-larger details, records and plans – allowing them to cope affordably with the increasing demands from the business.
But the anniversary didn’t generate all good news, it also prompted some real life stories about the misuse of Excel:
- The West Coast Main Line bid from franchisee First Group collapsed, due in large part to “technical flaws” in error-prone spreadsheet models, resulting in a cost to the UK taxpayer of £55 million.**
- A forgotten negative sign in Fidelity Magellan’s annual accounts caused a $1.3 billion loss to be miscalculated as a gain, causing an irate reaction from shareholders and chaos in the market.**
With 72% of medium and large businesses using spreadsheets for budgeting and/or forecasting***, there is even more evidence that UK businesses are experiencing major challenges from spreadsheets:
- 17% of large businesses have suffered financial loss due to poor spreadsheets***
- 57% of the same group say bad spreadsheets have caused wasted time****
- 33% of this group report poor decision-making due to spreadsheet problems*****
With Accountagility solutions, all computations and formulae are under the central control of a proven solution, which is familiar to and shared by the Finance team. No more version control issues, greater consistency, built-in back-up, and excellent auditability and compliance support. Accountagility relieves the stress of managing large numbers of complex spreadsheets and reduces the risk of errors that cause so much wasted time and effort.
** Source Operis Paper: The world’s most useful and dangerous program – Microsoft Excel – turns 30
****Source: UK Department for Innovation and Skills
*****Source: F1F9 Report – Capitalism’s Dirty Secret