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Spreadsheet risk management consultancy

Whatever level of reliance you put on spreadsheets for financial reporting, our four-step approach helps you manage the risks

Spreadsheet risk management

1. Identification

We can rapidly identify and evaluate your critical spreadsheets. Using our Excel spreadsheet audit toolkit we can quickly identify all of your spreadsheets and provide a risk-based evaluation.

The first step to managing spreadsheet risk is to identify the volume and nature of spreadsheets in use. This is a relatively short process as we can rapidly identify and evaluate these critical spreadsheets using our automated excel toolkit. We can quickly obtain data around the volume, size and characteristics of the spreadsheets which are in use in the business.

Clients are often surprised at the sheer number and complexity of the spreadsheets in use, which itself is an indicator of risk. Issues such as version control, duplication, security and data integrity are then brought out at the spreadsheet evaluation stage.

2. Evaluation

We can evaluate your spreadsheet risk exposure by carrying out our risk assessment and detailed review. Typically the first part of this involves a discussion around the need, size and business criticality of spreadsheet models.

For example, spreadsheets carrying personal data in an HR department and external reporting numbers in a finance department need to be very tightly controlled, but for different reasons and the controls and security that need to be applied are equally different. We would then audit some key spreadsheets characteristics using the excel toolkit.

Some of the issues we would identify as part of this review are:

  • Weaknesses in spreadsheets used as inputs to business critical processes (e.g. data integrity or inaccurate formulae)
  • Weaknesses in spreadsheets used for confidential data (e.g. security level)
  • Duplicated effort (e.g. separate work being done to drive identical outcome)
  • Numerous versions or other version control issues
  • Storage and structure issues (e.g. redundant spreadsheets for archiving, different folders used to store similar work)

3. Resolution

  • We can rebuild your spreadsheets to best practice standards.
  • If the audit identifies spreadsheets that require rebuilding we are able to rebuild your spreadsheets to best practice standards.
  • Working with trusted partners, we can develop bespoke software to replace business critical spreadsheets.
  • Our trusted partners can build bespoke software to replace spreadsheets that are being used to manage business critical processes.
  • We can train your team in the techniques of spreadsheet engineering.
  • We can provide tailored training to your team to ensure that they build robust and efficient Excel models.

4. Governance

We can help you put in place and roll out a formal governance process for continued spreadsheet risk management.

Typically this would be in the form of a set of standards around spreadheet structure, control and security within your business. This would then be agreed by all relevant parties and could form part of an internal audit review to ensure ongoing compliance.

For some sensitive applications this governance framework is of increasing interest to external auditors, particularly speciifc to some industries such as pharmaceutical and Life and Pensions where there is a high level of external scrutiny and regulation.

To learn more about Clarity and how we can help you manage spreadsheet risk, simply call or email us.

Call +44 1225 350730

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Spreadsheet risk management from Clarity