Chances are, your organization is highly-reliant on user developed applications (UDAs), the most common of which are spreadsheets. This doesn’t really come as much of a surprise considering that spreadsheets are easy to learn and even easier to use. The fact remains though, that spreadsheets were never intended to be enterprise-level tools. And now that they’ve made their way to highly complex accounting systems, financial reporting, market data analysis, and other intricate applications, spreadsheet systems are proving to be woefully inadequate to deal with the sheer volume of number-crunching that needs to be done.

  • Vulnerability to trivial errors (such an accidental copy-paste or omission of a negative sign);
  • The probability of a user working on the wrong version;
  • Possible inconsistency in company-wide reporting;
  • Susceptibility to unauthorised access

Any one of these oversights can give rise to large scale discrepancies, as the high profile cases of Allied Irish Banks, TransAlta, and Credit Suisse, to name a few, which have rocked the business community over the past decade. Believe it or not though, the vulnerability of spreadsheet to different risk issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

The over-utilisation of spreadsheets for accounting processes and financial reporting is also a major reason why many business organisations:

  • Are unable to comply with the auditing standards set by federal policies like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or SOX;
  • Are becoming increasingly vulnerable to fraud; and
  • Are ill-equipped to meet the demands of an agile business environment