Financial Controllers at public companies know they are responsible for the accuracy, timeliness, and regulatory compliance (e.g. Sarbanes Oxley or SOX) of recorded financial reporting. Financial controllers also identify any discrepancies in the books, figure out what happened, and follow up with the parties involved.
Also, every accountant is aware that recording financial transactions requires plenty of manual input and adjustments. To that end, the “weapon of choice” for almost every financial reporting or accounting professional is the ubiquitous spreadsheet. Designed in the ’70s, the spreadsheet is still used in most organizations today in the form of financial workbooks & financial modeling.
These end user developed applications (EUDA) are critical and support sophisticated reporting processes to management, investors, and regulators. However, they are usually developed without detailed documentation by their owners, whom also lack formalized end user application development training. Furthermore, these applications often lack peer review and an audit-able change log.
To complicate things further, the original spreadsheet developer will eventually move on. Most likely, a junior employee will inherit this complex file. They will only know how to plug numbers into specific cells without really understanding the underlying logic and calculations. This will lead to mistakes.
Financial controllers will admit that they would be delighted to retire spreadsheets for alternative solutions. Yet, they also realize their team would fight against such a move. After all, Excel spreadsheets have helped make financial reporting processes as robust as any IT-supported application. The status quo remains.
What if there was a solution out there that allowed you to keep the status quo without the added headaches? Your organization would be able to continue using the powerful spreadsheet and gain controls and transparency around every financial workbook.
The Apparity team has more experience helping organizations implement spreadsheet controls than any other firm in the US. The Apparity platform is used across numerous industries and companies globally and is proven by financial controllers, CFOs, auditors and regulators.
We will be publishing a series of blog posts to further expand on this topic. Financial controllers will learn how to leverage technology to help understand and manage spreadsheet and EUDA risk once and for all. Key aspects will include:
- Inventory development and management
- Risk assessment and logic inspection
- Monitoring and audit trail
- Issue identification and management