10 Reasons Not To Use Spreadsheets To Manage Enterprise Compliance

Where did that damn spreadsheet go? 

When it comes to managing enterprise compliance with government laws, regulations and industry standards spreadsheets are simply not up to the challenge.

Here are 10 reasons to ditch those inefficient spreadsheets and invest in a secure, purpose-built compliance management solution.

Reason 1.  Administration

If I had to summarise in one sentence why spreadsheets shouldn’t be used to manage enterprise compliance then the quote above would have to be it.

Using multiple spreadsheets to collect and analyse compliance data across multiple departments, groups and third-parties can very time-consuming and frustrating, especially when they go missing or are mistakenly deleted.

Modern purpose-built enterprise compliance management solutions overcome this problem by centrally managing the collection, analysis and reporting of compliance data using one purpose-built software solution. 

Reason 2. Security

Because spreadsheets are often shared and copied between multiple parties they are also open to unauthorised access, modification and deletion, often without detection. 

Furthermore, if your enterprise doesn’t have a roll-back or archive capability recovering or replacing lost spreadsheet data can be hugely time-consuming and expensive process. Worse still, it may be gone forever.   

If this wasn’t serious enough spreadsheets can easily be copied, emailed and removed off-site, potentially exposing an enterprise’s sensitive compliance data to competitors, regulators and the public.

Protecting spreadsheets with passwords is one security solution, but managing multiple passwords across multiple spreadsheets is simply impractical. 

Modern compliance management solutions overcome this problem by controlling and tracking user-access and changes enterprise-wide.   

Reason 3. Data Verification

Another problem with spreadsheets is the amount of time and effort needed to check the veracity of supplied data.

Because compliance data is often supplied by different departments, branches and third-parties it’s accuracy is often subject to human biases, vested interests and errors i.e. no one likes to report non-compliances.

Using spreadsheets to verify the accuracy of submitted compliance data can be hugely time-consuming, which explains why a lot of enterprises don’t do it very well.

Modern compliance software solutions overcome this problem by using inbuilt checks-and-measures to pre-qualify compliance data before it its submitted for analysis and reporting.

Reason 4. Data Analysis

If juggling multiple spreadsheets to collect and analyse compliance data enterprise-wide wasn’t difficult enough, trying to make sense of all this information can be an even more challenging.

Due to the inherent limitations of spreadsheets developing meaningful insights from supplied data can be very time consuming and demanding, especially if its veracity is questionable.

Modern compliance management software solutions overcome this problem by using in-built data analytics to consistently analyse and report compliance insights in a fraction of time needed using spreadsheets.

Reason 5. Compliance Assurance

Producing regular compliance reports is all good and well but unless the stakeholders don’t have confidence in the underlying data then your effort can be wasted.

This is particularly true for board-members, executives and managers that rely on compliance reports to ensure an enterprise’s limited improvement resources are directed where they are most needed.

Because of the convoluted and complex nature of spreadsheets, and their lack of transparency, they do a very poor job of instilling assurance in stakeholders .

Modern compliance management software solutions overcome this problem with “audit trails” that stakeholders to independently check the veracity of the collected data and the methods used to analyse and report outcomes.

Reason 6. Accessibility

An important requirement of any modern compliance management system is that it can be can accessed by authorised users as and when required. 

Accessing compliance data located across multiple spreadsheets and network locations can be a very time consuming and frustrating process.

Modern compliance management solutions overcome this problem by operating in the cloud. Providing authorised users 24 x 7 access from any internet-enabled device. 

Furthermore, cloud-based compliance management solutions are usually more reliable than in-house solutions, with guaranteed system availability of 95 percent not uncommon.

Reason 7. Business Continuity

Another problem with spreadsheets is it can be extremely difficult to recover lost compliance data following an major business disruption e.g. fire, flood, earthquake, storm, cyber-attack, take-over, etc.

Compliance spreadsheets are often under the control of internal managers and employees who are not familiar with best backup practice, which places business continuity at risk should the unexpected happen; as it will.

Modern compliance management solutions overcome this problem by recording and regularly backing-up enterprise compliance data in one secure location i.e. normally the cloud.

Reason 8.  Scalability

As an enterprise grows so does the amount of compliance data that needs to be regularly collected, analysed and reported to internal and external stakeholders.

Using large or multiple spreadsheets to manage an enterprises’ growing compliance requirements means the process can become very distributed, ineffective and costly. 

Furthermore, spreadsheet-based compliance solutions can easily lead to unnecessarily high compliance costs, unreliable reporting and poor decision-making.

Modern compliance management software solutions provide board-members and executives the scope and flexibility to grow their businesses without having to worry about how to assess and monitor the associated compliance risks.

Reason 9. Agility

To remain competitive in today’s highly complex business environment enterprises must be capable of quickly adapting their systems and processes to changing regulatory, industry and customer requirements.

Modifying spreadsheets to adapt to changing compliance requirements can be a very time-consuming and expensive exercise, particularity when editing complex formulae and macros.

Modern compliance management solutions enable enterprises to quickly incorporate new compliance requirements into their normal oversight and reporting processes.

Reason 10. Risk

Finally, but most importantly, an effective compliance management system must be capable of identifying and correcting any gaps in their systems and problems with their processes before they can result in a major non-compliance event e.g. fines, penalties, lost contracts, legal action, etc.

Unfortunately, many enterprises have come to the realisation, often the hard way, that their spreadsheet-based solutions are no longer capable of managing their growing compliance risks.

Modern compliance management solutions provide board-members, executives and managers greater insight into their compliance risks, thereby enabling them to more effectively carry out their continuous improvement responsibilities.  

In Summary

In today’s highly regulated business environment spreadsheets are no longer up to challenge of managing an enterprise’s compliance risks.

Modern purpose-built software solutions are not only more efficient and effective at analysing and reporting enterprise compliance risks, they also provide a single-version of the truth and the ability to quickly produce supporting compliance evidence when and as needed .

To learn more about how your enterprise can benefit from a modern cloud-based compliance management solution click here to visit our website.  www.compliance-master.com