The most widespread enterprise tool for storing and managing enterprise data is the common spreadsheet. Tools like Microsoft Excel are incredibly flexible and are widely available to business users. But their very flexibility and ubiquity also make them dangerous from a financial control perspective. IT management must hedge the dangers of spreadsheets by imposing policies on their use and creation.
Controlling the Risks of Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are widely used. The Spreadsheet Engineering Research Project (SERP) of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College indicates that over 95% of business users within enterprises make some use of these productivity tools. While spreadsheets are popular, when poorly programmed they can cause a number of problems related to inaccurate reporting and poor controls for financial data. The European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group, for example, lists almost 90 cases of errors that were reported in major publishing venues.