Businesses must do more than pay lip service to controls on spreadsheet usage, says Lisa Pollack
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ClusterSeven awarded 2013 GRC Value award in Information and Data Governance by research firm GRC 20/20
ClusterSeven's Enterprise Spreadsheet Manager (ESM), a data management solution for businesses, audit firms and financial institutions, has been awarded the 2013 GRC Value award in Information and Data Governance by US research firm GRC 20/20.
UK financial services leaders expect that their business-critical data will come under greater scrutiny from regulators over the coming year, new research suggests.
One business truism rarely discussed, not just amongst tax professionals but the wider business community, is just how widespread the use of spreadsheets remains in the modern world. Applications such as common-or-garden Excel are the core medium for corporate data across small businesses right up to global multinationals....
End User Computing (EUC) usually refer to PC-based spreadsheets or databases which often used to provide critical data or calculations related to financial risk areas within the scope of a SOX 404 assessment.
They can support complex calculations and provide significant flexibility. However, with flexibility and power comes the risk of errors, an increased potential for fraud, and misuse for critical spreadsheets not following the software development lifecycle (e.g. design, develop, test, validate, deploy).
A survey of senior executives in financial services firms has found that most expect the regulators to demand more evidence of controls over data held in databases and on spreadsheets.
UK financial services companies could be doing much more to ensure their critical tax data is secure.
One of the unwritten truths of the modern financial world is the fundamental reliance on spreadsheets for managing business critical data and information. It is unsurprising to find financial institutions such as retail banks, pension funds and insurance firms running hundreds of thousands, millions even, of active spreadsheets – usually Excel - and why?
FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS AT RISK AS C-LEVEL EXECUTIVES ADMIT TO POOR MANAGEMENT OF BUSINESS CRITICAL DATA
More than nine out 10 (93%) use spreadsheets as much as, or more than other financial applications in managing financial data
More than half of financial services groups in the UK have poorly applied or no controls for managing business-critical spreadsheets, leaving them open to the problems....
As a result of a spreadsheet error, the degree to which the [bank's] marks were adjusted — by a separate middle office function — was very limited. By May, however, this was revised when the calculation errors were uncovered.
The New Statesmen’s tech writer, Alex Hern, asks “Is Excel the most dangerous piece of software in the world?” His question was prompted by the JPMorgan Task Force Report into the Chief Investment Office’s $6 billion-plus loss. It found the bank’s Value at Risk (VaR) was being calculated with an Excel spreadsheet that “required time-consuming manual inputs to entries and formulas, which increased the potential for errors.”
....the way regulators are looking at risk and other reports from financial institutions. It’s not just about the answer anymore; the regulators want to understand the models underlying the reports and – more pertinently to us – whether the data used in the models is both accurate and consistent.
While outsourcing partners pride themselves on their ability to maintain high quality data management standards and reduce the costs of running processes, there is a vital piece of business activity that warrants particular scrutiny. This is the use of Excel spreadsheets: firstly as a means of sharing critical data between the company and outsourcing partner; and secondly as a component of key business processes that must remain in the company even after the outsourcing. When business processes are ‘split down the middle’ like this, one could argue that the job is only part done.
Compliance is working as a catalyst towards data quality and enterprise-wide risk management at insurance firms, thinks Lloyd’s underwriter Canopius.
Heightened compliance demands for better data quality and pressure to deliver enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) frameworks are driving industry change, thinks Bradley Cass, head of risk and compliance at Canopius.
Ralph Baxter, chief executive of ClusterSeven, the data management firm partnered with Canopius, stresses that moves towards improving the standard of information fed into a firm represent an industry shift towards better data quality.
Transparency, control and validation of critical business data is an increasingly serious concern for the financial services sector. Banks, insurance companies and actuarial firms are facing up to the fact that they need to tackle the data risk issue as a matter of urgency. However, a major part of this challenge lies outside the knowledge of IT departments.
What links a billion-dollar reporting mistake by a global oil company, an accounting error by outsourcing specialist Mouchel, and an arithmetical error overstating the strength of the UK construction industry by the Office of National Statistics? The answer is spreadsheet risk, and control errors with data management.