Articles - UK Plc at risk - Lack of governance over financial processes

Research shows that over 65% of UK companies have no effective policies to govern the spreadsheets that produce their critical financial reports

 A new survey* from ClusterSeven, an international provider of strategic spreadsheet and data management software, shows that 65.5% of UK spreadsheet users carry out business critical transactions through poorly managed spreadsheets.  They also admitted to being unaware of any company policy relating to building, sharing and protecting the corporate information they prepare in spreadsheets. 
 Of those surveyed by ClusterSeven, 40.4% admitted that their organisation had no policy in place to ensure the integrity of their financial information held in spreadsheets. Alarmingly, a further 25.1% did not even know if their company had any policy in place to police this process.
 Ralph Baxter, CEO of ClusterSeven, said: “Despite decades of financial software sales by all the leading software companies, spreadsheets are more pervasive than ever, filling the gap between IT systems and today’s business needs. For business to feel confident in the data they present to stock exchanges, regulators and auditors, management must heed this ever increasing reputational and financial risk. Our research highlights enormous complacency in UK companies despite their employees being fully aware of the risks they are running.”
 “Only the diligence and integrity of loyal staff ensure that most mistakes are captured before problems escalate. But this means many wasted hours of expensive manual effort when spreadsheet management technology can automate checks and reconciliations far more efficiently and reliably.”
 ClusterSeven has seen a significant increase in demand from organisations - particularly insurance companies preparing for Solvency II implementation and the wider financial services community - requesting solutions to provide transparency and control of their business-critical spreadsheet estates.
 Previous research by ClusterSeven showed that 56.5% of spreadsheet users had never received formal training on the spreadsheet package they use, with 47% not even been offered spreadsheet training.
 Of those surveyed, 72% admitted that no internal department checks their spreadsheets for accuracy. Only 12.9% said that Internal Audit reviews their spreadsheets, while a mere 1.1% receive checks from their risk department.
 Ralph Baxter continued: “Having spreadsheet risk management in place allows management to automate the control of business critical data manipulated by end users. This not only mitigates the risk of financial loss through error or fraud, but also eliminates many wasted hours of manual checks.”

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