Quality Assurance

 

There is a truism that goes “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory”.

While every consumer can probably relate to this idea, business enterprises offering goods and services are the ones that should heed this the most.

Quality Management Systems

The concept of quality was first introduced in the 1800’s. Goods were then still mass-produced, created by the same set of people, with a few individuals assigned to do some “tweaking” on the product to bring it to acceptable levels. Their idea of quality at that time may not have been that well-defined, but it marked the beginnings of product quality and customer satisfaction as we know it now.

Since then, quality has developed into a very basic business principle that every organisation should strive to achieve. Yet while every business recognises the importance of offering product and service quality, it is not something that can be achieved overnight.

If you’ve been in any type of business long enough, you should know that there is no “quick-fix” to achieving quality. Instead, it is an evolving process that needs to be continually worked on. And this is where the importance of having a workable Quality Management System (QMS) in an organisation comes in.

Whatever Quality tools and processes you need to implement the change needed in your organisation, we can help you with it. We are ready to work in partnership with your team to develop strategic systems which will produce significant performance improvements geared towards the achievement of quality.

What is a Quality Management System?

A Quality Management System is defined as the set of inter-related objectives, processes, and operating procedures that organisations use as a guide to help them implement quality policies and attain quality objectives.

Needless to say, the ultimate goal of every quality management system is to establish quality as a core value of the company among all employees, and across all products and services. Why? Because quality services make for happy customers, and satisfied customers ensure continued business for the company.

A Quality Management System does not stop with simply having a set of guidelines that the leaders of a company can easily have their organisation members accept and adhere to. Rather, effective QMS can be implemented when management provides a culture of pride and patience, which will inspire acceptance of individual and group responsibility.

In this manner, not only the heads of the organisation but the employees as well, will develop the desire to achieve company goals that will benefit:

  • All contributing teams;
  • The customers; and
  • The company as a whole.

Find out more about our Quality Assurance services in the following pages:

Check our similar posts

Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets

Fraudulent manipulations in company Excel files have already resulted in Billion-Dollar losses. The main underlying reason behind this spreadsheet vulnerability is the inherent lack of controls, which makes it so easy to alter either formulas, values, or dependencies without being detected.


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1. Vulnerable to Fraud

Of all the spreadsheet disadvantages listed here, this is perhaps the most damaging. Fraudulent manipulations in company Excel files have already resulted in Billion-Dollar losses. The main underlying reason behind this spreadsheet vulnerability is the inherent lack of controls, which makes it so easy to alter either formulas, values, or dependencies without being detected.

2. Susceptible to trivial human errors

While fraud will always be a threat to spreadsheet systems, there is a more significant threat that should make you seriously consider getting rid of these outdated systems. And that is its extreme susceptibility to even trivial human errors. Missed negative signs and misaligned rows may sound harmless.

But when they damage investor confidence or cause a considerable loss of opportunity amounting to millions of dollars (Are we serious? Google up ?spreadsheet horror stories? to find out), you should understand that it?s time to move on to better alternatives.

3. Difficult to troubleshoot or test

So how about testing spreadsheets to mitigate the risks of items 1 and 2? Good luck. Spreadsheets just aren?t built for that. It?s not uncommon to have interrelated spreadsheet data scattered across different folders, workstations, offices, or even geographical locations.

Worse, even if you are able pinpoint the locations of every related file, tracing the logic of formulas from one related cell to another can take ages. It?s pretty obvious now how you?ll also encounter a similar problem when troubleshooting questionable data.

4. Obstructive to regulatory compliance

Combine items 1, 2, and 3, and what do you get? A big headache impacting regulatory compliance. There are number of regulations that have a serious impact on the use of spreadsheets.

Some of the many regulations that impact spreadsheet systems include:

And to think it looks like regulatory bodies are just getting warmed up. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen a surge in regulations that directly affect spreadsheet-based systems. Now, you tell me that you haven?t wished there was a better way to beat regulatory compliance deadlines. Well, if you?re still using spreadsheets, then there certainly is a better way.

5. Unfit for agile business practices

We’re now in an age when major changes are shaping and reshaping the business landscape. Mergers and Acquisitions, Management Buyouts, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, uprisings, climate change, new technologies, and so on. If your business is not agile enough to adapt to such changes, it could easily be left behind or even face extinction.

Spreadsheets are normally created by individuals who have not the slightest know-how regarding software documentation. In the end, spreadsheet files become highly personalised user developed applications. So when it?s time for a new person to take over as part of a large scale business change, the newcomer may have to start from scratch.

Read further about Implementing Large-Scale Business Change

 

6. Not designed for collaborative work

Planning, forecasting, budgeting, and reporting are all collaborative activities. In other words, plans, forecasts, budgets, and reports typically require information from different individuals belonging to different departments. In addition, the final documents are a result of multiple exchanges of data, ideas, and files.

Now, if your company?s offices are scattered throughout the country or if certain team members are separated by large distances, the only way to exchange data stored in spreadsheets is through email.

Experience will tell you that such a method of exchange is susceptible to duplicate and even erroneous data. Team members will tend to find it hard to keep track of similar files going back and forth, and sometimes even end up sending the wrong version.

7. Hard to consolidate

When it comes to simple data entry and quick ad hoc data analysis tasks, spreadsheets are highly favoured by end users. This has made them one of the most ubiquitous office tools on the planet. But as a consequence, data in spreadsheet-based systems are distributed throughout the organisation.

So when it’s time to generate reports, you’ll really have to go through a slow consolidation process. In most cases, end users would have to collect data from different files, summarise them, and submit the same to their department heads through emails, portable storage media (e.g. CDs or USB flash-drives), or by copying to a commonly shared network folder.

Department heads would have to undergo a similar process before submitting them to their own superiors. This has to go on until all the information reaches their organisation’s top decision makers. Throughout the entire consolidation process, data is subjected to numerous error-prone activities such as copy-pasting, cell entry, and range specification.

8. Incapable of supporting quick decision making

In a spreadsheet-based environment, extracting data from different departments, consolidating them, and summarising the information so that it could aid the company’s top brass in making sound decisions can be very time consuming.

And because we know how susceptible spreadsheets are to errors, everyone involved in the information processing has to be ultra careful to keep the integrity of the data intact. Hence it would be prudent to enforce double-checking as much as possible.

This extra but necessary exercise can further delay the process. So, when the final information arrives at the hands of the top executive, he may not have much time to work with. (Read about Business Intelligence)

9. Unsuited for business continuity

As mentioned earlier, data in spreadsheet systems are never kept in a single place. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The worse thing about it is that they’re always in the hands of non-IT personnel, who are understandably not familiar with storage and backup best practices.

Thus, if a major disaster strikes, full data recovery can be very difficult if not impossible. As a consequence, even if the company has financial reserves, the absence of data (e.g. accounts receivable records, customer records, and inventory) to work on can prevent the company from making a quick restart.

10. Scales poorly

As an organisation grows, data in spreadsheet-based systems get more distributed; subsequently compounding the issues outlined above. It is absolutely not advisable for a large organisation to keep using spreadsheets.

 

More Spreadsheet Blogs

Spreadsheet Risks in Banks

Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets

Disadvantages of Spreadsheets – obstacles to compliance in the Healthcare Industry

How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud

Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence

Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?

Disadvantages of Spreadsheets

Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment

Spreadsheet Fraud

Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework

Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations

Spreadsheet Risk Issues

Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back

Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

 

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Choosing Routes for ESOS Compliance

Along the introduction of Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme in UK is the quick emergence of various companies that offer ESOS compliant services. While some energy audit providers can help, qualified businesses should understand what their compliance options are, how these routes work and learn both the pros and cons in order to carefully take their pick.

Independent ISO 50001 Certification

ISO 50001 comprises the integration and application of processes geared to motivate energy saving and overall improvement. Simply stated, it is a framework that drives the organisation’s governance to realise energy saving strategies by allocating resources and participating in energy management. The good thing about ISO 50001 is that it includes an energy review that documents ideas and opportunities to save more energy.

However, ISO 50001 does not obligate organisations to cover 90% of their overall energy consumption. In case of partial coverage, the company needs to undergo additional energy assessments to evaluate all the significant energy consumption areas.

In order for an ISO 50001 certification to be valid, it must be certified by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), by an accreditation body which is a member of the International Accreditation Forum, or by a body accredited by another EU member state?s national accreditation body.

Display Energy Certificates and Green Deal Assessments

These two kinds of energy assessment reports can also contribute to ESOS compliance. Both of them are carried out by qualified lead assessors and valid for 10 years. However, they are only based on the building structures and services. They do not cover the overall significant areas in energy consumption. Since these reports are valid for 10 years, they would be used for two ESOS reporting periods. Thus, they would not be as current as the ISO 50001 certification. Aside from that, the assessments are purely based on energy efficiency and anyone can qualify to use the software that produce the certifications after taking the accreditation course.

Energy Audits

A successful energy audit leads to better understanding of the company?s energy consumption, identify alternatives, determine cost-effective energy saving opportunities and stimulate energy efficiency. Energy audits are beneficial to the organisation. What makes it complex is that the organisation applying it, needs to clearly define the scope and type of energy audit to use in order to comply with ESOS. Furthermore, the organisation also has to identify the teams that would be competent enough to do the audit work for the building, transport and industrial area, respectively.

Each route is not formed equal. Thus, organisations have the option to either choose one or combine the routes and meet their company needs. The options mentioned are different approaches to ESOS and the core value is to grab the opportunity towards acquiring more savings through efficient energy system.

How Ecovaro Can Help

Ecovaro is passionate about making a difference. We are knowledgeable when it comes to ESOS legislation and regulation, ISO 50001 energy management system, DECs and Green Deal Assessments. More than that, we recognise the great impact of efficient management system to your organisation. And with this, we provide an enthusiastic team of software engineers and expert project managers to offer you our professional help at reasonable price. Ecovaro comes to you fully equipped with services tailored to your organisation’s energy management needs.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 – IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 – UK
Spreadsheet Risk Issues

It is interesting to note that the riskiness of operational spreadsheets are overlooked even by companies with high standards of risk management. Only when errors amount to actual losses do they realize that these risks have been staring them in the face all along.

Common spreadsheet risk issues

Susceptibility to trivial manual errors

Due to the fundamental structure of spreadsheets, a slight change in the formula or value in any of their inhabited cells may already affect their overall output. An

  • accidental copy-paste,
  • omission of a negative sign,
  • erroneous range selection,
  • incorrect data input or
  • unintentional deletion of a character,cell, range, column, or row

are just some of the simple errors spreadsheet users frequently encounter. Rarely are there any counter-checking controls in place in a spreadsheet-based activity and manual errors therefore easily go undetected.

Possibility of the user working on the wrong version

How do you store spreadsheet files?

Since the most common reports are usually generated on a monthly basis, users tend to store them using variations of these two configurations:

spreadsheet storage

If you notice, a user can accidentally work on the wrong version with any of these structures.

Prone to inconsistent company-wide reporting

This happens when a summary or ?final? spreadsheet is fed information by different departments coming from their own spreadsheets. Even if most of the data in their spreadsheets come from one source (the company-wide database), erroneous copy-pasting and linking, or even different interpretations of the same data can result to contradicting information in the end.

Often defenceless against unauthorised access

Some spreadsheets contain information needed by various individuals or department units in an organisation. Hence, they are often shared via email or through shared folders in a network. Now, because spreadsheets don’t normally use any access control, any user can easily open a spreadsheet file and view or modify the contents as he wishes.

Highly vulnerable to fraud

A complex spreadsheet system with zero or very minimal controls provides the perfect setting for would-be fraudsters. Hidden cells with malicious formulas and links to bogus information can go unnoticed for a long time especially if the final figures don’t deviate much from expected values.

Spreadsheet risk mitigation solutions may not suffice

Inherent complexity makes testing and logic inspection very time consuming

Deep testing can uncover possible errors hidden in spreadsheet cells and consequently mitigate risks. But spreadsheets used to support financial reporting are normally large, complex, highly-personalised and, without ample supporting documentation, understandably hard to follow.

No clear ownership of risk management responsibilities

There?s always a dilemma when an organisation starts assigning risk management responsibilities for spreadsheets. IT personnel believe users in the business side of the organisation should be responsible since they are the ones who create, edit, store, duplicate, and share the spreadsheet files. On the other hand, users believe IT should be responsible since they have always been in-charge of managing IT infrastructure, applications, and files.

To get rid of spreadsheet risks, you’ll have to get rid of spreadsheets altogether

One remedy is to have a risk management activity that involves both IT personnel and spreadsheet users. But wouldn’t you want to get rid of the complexity of having to distribute the responsibilities between the two parties instead of just one?

Learn more about Denizon’s server application solutions and how you can get rid of spreadsheet risk issues.

More Spreadsheet Blogs


Spreadsheet Risks in Banks


Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets – obstacles to compliance in the Healthcare Industry


How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence


Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment


Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework


Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations


Spreadsheet Risk Issues


Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back


Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

?

Advert-Book-UK

amazon.co.uk

?

Advert-Book-USA

amazon.com

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 – IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 – UK

Ready to work with Denizon?