Spreadsheets can be easily changed, may lack certain internal control activities, and are vulnerable to human error. A structured spreadsheet control process is imperative to ensure accuracy and integrity of financial records and bookkeeping. Therefore, it is important for auditors to be aware of the different kinds of risks associated with the lack of spreadsheet controls.
To help mitigate spreadsheet recycling risks, auditors need to make sure the information added to the spreadsheet is as good as the expected output by using a control total (i.e., a result obtained by subjecting a set of data to an algorithm to check the data at the time the algorithm is applied) to prevent errors in formulas totaling columns of data, numbers, or dollars.
To reduce the number of spreadsheet errors and to help mitigate fraud is to limit access to files. A spreadsheet is no different than other software, so access to spreadsheet information should be limited to persons on a need-to-know basis, which can help to deter unauthorized activity.