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What Are You Doing to Eliminate Spreadsheet Risk and Spreadsheet Cost?

Firms advocate for clients, helping them minimize exposure to risk and liability. However, in the back office, how many firms are doing enough to minimize exposure to risk? When partners make decisions based upon their financial statements, what risks lurk behind those statements? What unnecessary sunken costs were spent in manual tasks to produce those reports? Could a bad decision be based on a clerical error?

The reality in firms large and small is that Microsoft® Excel® is used on a daily basis to produce financial statements and operational reports. Excel is here to stay; it’s reliable, cost effective, and ubiquitous. Even larger firms with business intelligence (BI) solutions still end up using Excel on a daily basis. There is a reason why there are more than 750 million daily Excel users worldwide.

Yet, how does the data for statements and reports get into Excel? More often than not, data is exported in a static format. These reports in turn are only as good as yesterday’s stale data that went into them. Firm managers are expected to make tomorrow’s decisions based on last week’s data.

But even if the report is regenerated, how many countless hours are then spent in the back office reformatting the new data into a readable and visually-pleasing format? And, the whole process could start over the next day when new transactions are posted to the core system, needing a new revision of the same reports. Believe it or not, our Excel automation advisors all-too-frequently witness accountants manually rekeying updated data, a process that is both time consuming and error prone.

In fact, what’s worse than this sunken cost in manual intervention in spreadsheets is the inherent risk involved. Not only is this yesterday’s data, but how does a partner at a firm know there isn’t an error when someone—in the umpteenth iteration of the same report—made a human error? According to the publication CIO, 80% of spreadsheets contain errors. What costly errors lurk in your spreadsheets?

Spreadsheet risk is easy to mitigate. It’s risky and costly when Excel is not integrated with the core accounting system. Firms make ongoing investments in both Microsoft and Elite products, and there are many ways to connect and amplify these two technologies.

Some say abandon Excel, but this is a wildly cost prohibitive route for smaller and medium-sized firms. And for larger firms who may have invested in a business intelligence solution, odds are that Excel is still used on a daily basis but with static data and via manual intervention. While there are many solutions on the market with Excel-based front ends, an emerging best practice in the legal industry revolves around Spreadsheet Server by Global Software, Inc. As an Excel add-in it requires no additional IT infrastructure. Overnight it can connect Excel with Elite products, giving clients live data in Excel, a solution firms already know, use, and love. Many of our larger clients use Spreadsheet Server in conjunction with some of the leading BI solutions on the market today.

The legal profession prides itself on its exacting attention to detail and accuracy when serving clients. It should demand the same level of accuracy and reliability when viewing the firm’s financial and operational reports.

Contact Global Software, Inc., for a free Excel automation consultation, where an industry expert can look at your current process in depth and help you evaluate whether Global Software’s solutions and services could help you overcome spreadsheet risk and spreadsheet cost. Call or email Bjorn Beer at +1.406.407.2738 or to schedule your FREE one hour consultation on Excel best practices. Be sure to mention you heard about this offer in Forefront!

Global Software

Global Software, Inc. is the leading provider of Microsoft Excel-based automation and reporting software solutions that enhance the world's foremost business intelligence (BI), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and operational platforms. The company's flagship offering, Spreadsheet Server, bridges the operational gap between company data and reporting, resulting in resource savings and streamlined data analytic processes in a secure environment. Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Global Software's products are used by over 5,000 customers worldwide. Click here for more information.

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