Practically everyone in an office environment has some understanding of Excel and similar spreadsheet programs. They revolutionized computing for finance and accounting firms and can be incredibly useful for a number of purposes. However, as organizations become increasingly complex, spreadsheets can create more problems than they solve. For risk management in particular, organizations should consider moving to a more modern approach, such as a Risk Management Information System (RMIS). Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Manual data entry is slow and problematic
Spreadsheets require employees to copy and paste or rekey data into the system. For a small organization that only has to track a few statistics, this might be fine. But for any other organization, this process eats up hours, if not days, of valuable company time. Risk managers should spend their time analyzing data and acting on its results, not inputting and updating it. Further, research has shown that approximately 88% of spreadsheets contain some kind of error, primarily due to manual entry. Something as simple as a misplaced decimal point or incorrectly entered formula can wreak havoc on an organization’s financial statements or decision-making.
2. Inability to share data
Unlike information systems that are built for data sharing and collaboration across organizations, only one employee can update a spreadsheet at any given time. Users are forced to rely on email attachments or shared folders to access the latest version of information. Inconsistencies in updating or correctly naming files can make this issue even worse. There is no easy way to tell if the spreadsheet you’re looking at is current or if there’s a newer one stored on someone else’s computer.
3. Lack of real-time or historical data
It’s extremely difficult to access real-time data when your organization is using Excel. It’s difficult to know if you are looking at current statistics or if a piece of data has recently changed. The time it takes for employees to manually enter data into the system only compounds this problem. Also, many organizations continuously change and update the information in their spreadsheets, as Excel is not built for storing historical data. This means that valuable data is deleted when it is no longer relevant, making trend analysis virtually impossible.
4. Difficulties in reporting and analysis
Trend analysis, particularly of incidents and claims, can save organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars. Excel can be an adequate system to store static data, but it is not made for the in-depth analysis that most organizations require today. Data has to be manually compiled into reports that allow all users to understand what is going on within the organization. This can be time-consuming, resulting in more problems with real-time analysis and decision-making.
5. Security issues
Spreadsheet files can be password protected. However, many organizations have complex security needs. There may be multiple levels of authority that require different levels of access to information. With spreadsheet passwords, users can either access and update all information, or none at all. It may also be easy for external users to discover passwords and gain access to confidential information.
If any of these issues sound familiar, it may be time for you to update your organization’s risk management from spreadsheets to a RMIS. ClearRisk’s software can solve all these problems:
- When information is submitted through our online web portal, the data is automatically populated into the system, sent in notification emails to relevant parties, and is instantly accessible to all users. No more entering and reentering data into multiple spreadsheets and systems!
- All authorized users can log onto the ClearRisk system from any device and instantly access the most current, up-to-date information.
- Our system can automatically sync with other information systems on a daily basis to ensure that communication amongst all aspects of the organization is consistent and accurate.
- Reports and analyses can be automatically created on a daily basis or produced in seconds from any piece of data in the system.
- Our system adheres to the highest security standards and allows various level of access from view-only to total manipulation of data.
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