RiskTech Forum

Finsbury Solutions: Fast And Effective Spreadsheet Control - How To Manage Spreadsheet Risk

Posted: 3 February 2015  |  Source: Finsbury Solutions


Spreadsheets are the source of significant risk in many organisations. Regular scandals such as the $6.2m ‘London Whale’ loss at JP Morgan have highlighted the risks of spreadsheets. Many organisations are now taking action to implement controls over spreadsheets.

This guide outlines how to quickly and effectively implement spreadsheet controls using the Finsbury Solutions toolset. For additional context please read other guides in our library and in particular “The Finsbury Guide to Spreadsheet Strategy”, which details a wider set of the options for dealing with spreadsheets.

This guide assumes that you have already read “The Finsbury Guide to Spreadsheet Strategy” and have decided that the implementation of a general spreadsheet control environment is appropriate for your organisation.

Implementation Challenges
Implementing an effective spreadsheet control environment is much harder than it looks at first glance. The challenges are cultural, technical and the often huge data volumes.

Cultural Issues
Spreadsheet software was the first killer app of the desktop PC era and spreadsheets quickly spread across most organisations because they were so powerful and useful compared to traditional software. By developing their own applications users preserved their autonomy and avoided being dependent on the IT department

The IT department typically did not support spreadsheet applications and did not devote any resources to addressing end user computing related problems. On occasion badly thought through attempts to get rid of all spreadsheets or lock them down have created concern among users that technology based spreadsheet control projects will impact their flexibility and control.

A comprehensively controlled spreadsheet environment necessarily makes demands on the users. It can increase their workload and reduces their autonomy. In many organisations senior management are not prepared to enforce the changes in behaviour that are required.

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