Data is essential in every area, from accounting and finance companies to startups and manufacturing facilities.
Strategic planning, initiatives, and critical decisions are all reliant on data gathered and maintained over time, and they are all subject to change. Financial institutions rely on massive volumes of data, which is supported entirely in Excel spreadsheets. Although the necessity of data correctness is well understood, particularly in this sector, it is nevertheless permitted to be subjected to something as uncontrollable and unexpected as the error of human beings.
In public corporations, a single error concealed among thousands of rows of data may have a significant impact on the bottom line and hide critical insights. It should come as no surprise that experts in the financial business are alarmed.
You Can’t Work With Excel Forever
Even though Excel is still a useful tool because of its simplicity and flexibility, it presents substantial concerns with data integrity, especially as your company’s operations expand.
At some point, your finance team will experience migration challenges and inconsistencies which will require them to look for a replacement to Excel.
Companies must recognize these challenges they are confronted with and devise ways to address each of those concerns first, including exploring other modern software that is equipped with more advanced capabilities and best practice standards that can help their finance teams work more efficiently.
Data Monitoring Is Important
The bigger the company and the more people work and collaborate on the same data or spreadsheet, the higher the risk of making mistakes. Data is shared and edited throughout the company, rapidly resulting in information being lost or incorrectly entered into the system.
Monitoring and tracking spreadsheets, as well as the most recent versions of them, at all times, helps avoid this and greatly minimize the likelihood of errors occurring in the process. Larger companies, however, might benefit from an FP&A solution that makes this process more efficient and dependable.
Preventing unauthorized people from accessing specific files is not only about security and preserving private data; it is also about convenience. It also helps avoid instances in which someone accesses a spreadsheet and accidentally alters or deletes vital data by mistake. When dealing with vast volumes of data, it is critical to specify who has access to which files to maximize security and data integrity while also reducing data loss.
Errors and Data Integrity in Finance
However, while formulas and automated tools may be used to gather and calculate data, a significant amount of human interaction is still required.
Data is shared with and updated by various employees within an organization, making it extremely difficult to track down the most recent version of a file. Employees make the updates themselves, which increases the risk of data integrity issues. The finance department is often responsible for collecting and managing this data from various sources, and due to the amount of data involved, identifying a single error is nearly impossible.
When it comes to financial accounts, where calculations are built upon formulas that rely on data from several sources, a single error can significantly impact the outcome.
Ensuring Changes are being tracked and monitored
After all, even if only authorized people have access to the data and management knows which version is the most up to date, there is still the issue of ensuring that all modifications are approved. These modifications include both immediate changes made by the user and modifications to formula results. Observing who made what modification and when they did it can aid in detecting problems as they occur rather than later down the line when it is far more challenging to discover them.
Requiring a framework with systems and checks is a great way to assure compliance and transparency within your organization and your industry or government law.
When the integrity of your data is compromised, it is usually often the consequence of human error. Not only is it difficult to manually ensure data integrity and correctness in the face of huge numbers, but it also leaves companies exposed to errors that can impact your bottom line.
Automating the finance department’s assessment and management processes can help companies save on costs while reducing risk.
Luckily, these days, there are several FP&A tools that we can use to leverage automating and streamlining data collection, data management, and data evaluation processes to ensure the integrity, accuracy, and quality of your financial data.
How PCF Can Help
Just because spreadsheets aren’t going away shortly doesn’t mean businesses and organizations should settle with what data they may have. While maintaining data integrity and reducing the risk of mistakes, Performance Canvas offers a unified platform that enables finance departments in healthcare and manufacturing to manage, distribute and govern their spreadsheets without changing their Excel experience while also reducing the risk of mistakes.
Perhaps what we require are more intelligent methods to evaluate the data that is already accessible. The good news is that PCF has already taken the lead in innovative approaches that can help ensure data integrity in businesses of all sizes.
Learn more about PCF today.