The Importance of Data Accuracy in Spreadsheet Management

The Importance of Data Accuracy in Spreadsheet Management

5 MIN. READ

In a recent CMSWire article, experts cited the lack of clean data as a prime suspect in holding back the development of new financial technologies. Before an organization can bring in modern technologies like AI and machine learning, its data must be clean as a whistle. As shown in the aforementioned article, the need for clean data is paramount to an organization’s success.

However, clean data is only as useful as the software that ensures its accuracy, efficiency and reliability. Enter spreadsheet management software.

Spreadsheets fuel critical business decisions

Modern technology leads to future success. Implementing modern technology means finding innovative business solutions aimed at enhancing and advancing the decision-making process. Often, such technologies are limited by data accuracy. In the world of finance, spreadsheet management software enables an organization to enhance data accuracy, thereby allowing them to adopt modern technology more effectively.

Corporate executives often use spreadsheets to manage data because they enable quick and efficient aggregation. This has led to their use in “feeding” data to AIs. If such data is clean, the AI can learn and grow into a better business asset. Without secure spreadsheet management software, plenty of data issues can degrade an organization’s available insights. Inconsistent and inaccurate data can wreak havoc on an enterprise’s spreadsheets, particularly when that organization isn’t using any kind of management software.

According to the Forrester report commissioned by Incisive, 53% of executives express a high level of worry when it comes to the inherent risk of spreadsheets, but fewer than 20% have a plan in place to change that. The report also details how spreadsheet management software reduces inherent risk by flagging problem areas, such as user error.

At best, inaccurate data will prevent companies from successfully leveraging technologies like AI. At worst, inaccurate data can misguide executives and lead to flawed decisions. Spreadsheet management software can help ensure that the data driving AI technology’s ability to learn is accurate.

When a firm is looking to make important decisions, accurate data is the first crucial step in implementing modern technology, including AI. The best way to ensure accurate data is by reducing spreadsheet risk.

Reducing spreadsheet risk improves data accuracy

Spreadsheet risk is a serious threat to revenue, reputation and other crucial aspects of business. Just ask Barclays how much damage a simple spreadsheet error can cause. Considering that over 35% of finance teams and executives rely on spreadsheets in the decision-making process, these risks are far more prevalent than many might have thought.

However, through technologies like spreadsheet management software, organizations can significantly reduce spreadsheet risk in many ways. Spreadsheet management platforms lead to improved data quality, simplified compliance, streamlined error identification and more.

Spreadsheet management software ensures the accuracy and consistency of an organization’s spreadsheets, in turn providing the ability to rely on their data. In fact, according to the Forrester study, 50% of organizations that adopted spreadsheet management technology saw noticeable improvements in data accuracy, their ability to meet audit and compliance requirements, and the visibility of spreadsheet errors.

Greater data accuracy lowers the costs of manual processes and regulatory compliance

Organizations rely on data to guide their subsequent decisions, so being able to trust their data enables them to make better, more informed choices. Spreadsheet management software flags errors before they get through, enabling significant reductions in oversights or flaws. In turn, that increases data accuracy. Thus, through greater data accuracy, organizations obtain access to more value-adding insights.

Spreadsheet management technologies greatly increase the efficiency of all related accounting endeavors by reducing the time spent on labor and manual data entry. To put it simply, one machine performing instant calculations costs significantly less than a team of employees taking hours to do the same task. The former is also exponentially more time-efficient.

According to a recent Globalscape study, the true cost of financial compliance is $5.47 million. Noncompliance nearly triples that ($14.82 million). With increased efficiency from automation and data accuracy, spreadsheet management software lowers operating costs by reducing total regulatory and compliance costs. That includes managing spreadsheet data to support the GDPR in Europe, the HIPAA in the U.S. and the international PCI DSS. Each of these regulations requires detailed record-keeping and financial accounting.

As few as one error can open the door to massive fines, costing the company much more than if it ensured compliance by enforcing data accuracy. In fact, spreadsheet errors create reputational risk, which could lead to distrust among customers and, ultimately, the failure of the organization.

How spreadsheet management software improves overall data accuracy

The CMSWire article highlights the importance of a “mature data culture” in any company that hopes to bring future technologies on board. Accurate data is the cornerstone of future technologies. By using spreadsheet management software to optimize data accuracy, executives can better position their companies for tomorrow’s business climate.

By improving both the quality of and access to an organization’s spreadsheet data, spreadsheet management software hits on all the aforementioned points, regardless of the organization’s technological plans.

Spreadsheet management software opens the door to more accurate decision-making, reduced overhead and greater risk prevention. For more information about why companies that prioritize spreadsheet risk are better positioned to protect customers, revenue and reputation, download our Forrester Opportunity Snapshot study. You’ll learn more about the importance of data accuracy in spreadsheet management and how it can improve your organization’s data culture.


About Diane Robinette

Diane RobinetteDiane Robinette is President and CEO at Incisive Software, a company helping risk executives reduce exposure in critical business and financial processes. Prior to Incisive, Diane served in executive and senior level positions at companies including BroadVision, Contivo (acquired by Liaison Technologies), Covigna (acquired by ProQuest/Snap-on), Perfect Commerce and Proximex (acquired by Tyco). She also held management positions at KPMG and EY. Diane believes that by taking a modern and automated approach, risk teams can move towards a risk resilient posture that allows them to anticipate and reduce exposure, no matter what is thrown their way.