Mitigating spreadsheet risk in investment management

According to a global expert on the subject, businesses are being left behind when it comes to data analytics, which means they’re missing out on growth opportunities and struggling with compliance issues. In this article, BDO’s Global Head of Audit and Accounting emphasises that local companies need to:

‘’ . . . get ahead of the technology growth curve, to adopt preparedness as a key business element and to understand that the measures needed to grow their business in a rapidly changing world need not cost the earth.’’

A good example of this is the prolific use of spreadsheets in the investment management sector. Spreadsheets are used for a wide range of applications and they’re increasing in complexity all the time.

In terms of AlphaCert clients, there isn’t a fund not using spreadsheets to some extent. That’s because they are the tools of trade in any investment entity, but the risks of using them in combination with data from disparate systems, are becoming increasingly apparent.

The biggest risk for managing data is the manual process dependency for any spreadsheets that don’t have a direct link into an enterprise data management system. When data is coming in via disparate systems, the risk of error is greater, meaning that investment managers are basing their decisions on inaccurate data. With the industry under greater scrutiny than ever, it’s essential that the data used by investment managers is of the highest quality and integrity possible.

This doesn’t mean getting rid of spreadsheets altogether, because they do have a valuable role to play. So how do you manage spreadsheet data while ensuring its integrity and quality?

It’s with that theme in mind that we’ve put together a new white paper to help investment managers understand the inherent risks in using spreadsheets to manage data, and how to mitigate that risk. Spreadsheet risk: the closing bell? looks at 4 key areas:

  1. Spreadsheet risk – an outline of the role that spreadsheets play in the investment management sector, and the risks involved
  2. Data integrity – often spreadsheets are managed by individuals within a business, and that can lead to data integrity being compromised, especially when that individual leaves the business and takes their knowledge with them
  3. The time factor – the time investment managers spend collating and validating spreadsheet data is time they’re not investing in the business and making quality decisions
  4. Mitigating spreadsheet risk – how an enterprise data management (EDM) platform can automate spreadsheet processes and create a ‘single source of truth.’

The white paper also takes a look at an AlphaCert case study, and how the implementation of an EDM platform improved their data quality, integrity, system integration, and process automation.

After reading the white paper, you may be wondering if your business is working with too many spreadsheets. The white paper has a checklist that can help you decide if an EDM platform is the solution.

Take some time to consider what impact a spreadsheet containing inaccurate data could have on your business and on the decisions you’re making around the funds you manage. Moving to a platform that can integrate with multiple data sources and third party systems will ultimately lead to greater automation in business processes, and should be a key business strategy.

Download the white paper