The debate about spreadsheet risks refuses to go away, with rival developers tangling in recent weeks over the potential threat to business users.
According to Protivit, the issue is still not on the business agenda. Nearly nine out of 10 (89%) of accountants questioned at an ICAEW spreadsheet event confessed their organisations are not doing enough to prevent spreadsheet risk from occurring. Worringly the most recent survey contrasted with a similar exercise in June 2011 in which 73% of accountants admitted their organisations were not doing enough to combat spreadsheet risk.
Three quarters (74%) of those surveyed in the more recent questionnaire said no department or function given responsibility for addressing spreadsheet risk, and 10% believed it was the finance department’s responsibility.
“The high number of chartered accountants who said their organisations are not doing enough to prevent spreadsheet risk occurring could show that awareness of this issue is increasing and people are now starting to understand the size and scale of the problem,” commented Protiviti’s IT consulting director Scott Bolderson.
“The overriding issue remains that no one owns the problem so it will continue to get worse as the amount of data organisations have to manage increases.”
The problem is almost as rife in the public sector, according to Advanced Business Solutions. The software conglomerate’s joint Local Authority Budget Manager Survey of CIPFA members found that 82% of local authority finance professionals use Excel for their budget preparation. And 78% admitted they were “reliant” on spreadsheets for budget monitoring.
But Lorraine Lockhard, director of Excel add-in developer Solution 7 hit back this week: “Microsoft Excel is not a panacea solution but, even with its perceived flaws and limitations, it is still a financial accountant’s best friend. Are you saying 78% of financial professionals are simply wrong?”