The threat of spreadsheets

The threat of spreadsheets

Developed as a single user application, spreadsheets were never intended to address critical business processes. And yet the spreadsheet is the most widely used strategic management decision tool today.

A spreadsheet can be changed extensively by different people, often at the very last minute, but is still used for critical business decisions. They are used for profitability analysis, strategic planning, budgeting, forecasting, transaction structuring, valuation etc.

What is wrong with this? Well, a generally accepted estimation is that 88% of spreadsheets have errors. A wrong keystroke, a formula replaced with a static value, ad hoc copy-paste routine, a future detached from the past to list just a few issues rendering the calculations and decision basis, if not meaningless, then often highly questionable.

Businesses today require concurrent team work, a collaborative approach – something that allows the teams to work simultaneously, give full traceability of data, develop changes, smooth algorithms, calculation integrity, and versatility and robustness so that data calculations evolve with growing management demands.

Ask yourself, next time you see a spreadsheet, do you understand the impact a likely error in it could have on your decision? And if you felt a bit uneasy, maybe, it is time to move forward and embrace professional financial modelling tools, designed specifically to assist businesses with their complex business processes that can import data and provide a modelling environment that gives management good quality information for making decisions.

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