19 Nov Are Spreadsheets Costing You Money?
In 2013, an error on a J.P. Morgan Chase Excel spreadsheet, led to a $6 Billion portfolio loss and $600 Million in fines for the bank. A devastating and expensive outcome for something as simple as a spreadsheet error.
Does your business rely on spreadsheets? Like most today, it probably does. And like JP Morgan Chase, your spreadsheets could contain errors without you even realizing it. Studies have shown that 88% of all spreadsheets have errors in them.
At Inverse-Square, we are a web application development company that makes custom software, and we’re experts at data automation and workflow management. Much of what we do is fixing processes that don’t ensure consistency in data; inconsistency in data that usually can be found in spreadsheets In doing so, we have found the ten most common factors that cause these inconsistencies:
Bad Cell References
This is a common mistake because often it’s the result of copy and paste. You assume the formula or pivot table updates itself to reference the right cells or range of cells, but it doesn’t always.
Order of Operations
Building formulas wrong may still provide an answer, but you may not realize it’s actually not the right answer. This comes into play with a lack of parentheses in formulas with multiple operations.
What if you are computing the wrong types of data? Are you sure you are using the right factors in every case to compute a result? Are you willing to rest your reputation on it?
Static numbers are often left unprotected and when changed, could affect another part of the spreadsheet and you don’t even realize it.
How is the spreadsheet organized? Like it was imported? This may not be the best way to present the data and you could be setting yourself up for wrong interpretation or misinformation.
Hidden Sheets / Columns
Often hidden columns, rows or sheets don’t get copied when they should and throw off data when it’s manipulated.
Lack of Formula Checks / Error Reporting
Do you have a process to check for formula errors? Often they are represented by a triangle in the corner of a cell, but sometimes that is hard to see. And when you have a formula that references a bad formula, it only gets worse.
Duplicated Formulas / Data
Often we find spreadsheets contain complex formulas being used multiple times or non-static data being used as if it was static. This is a recipe for disaster.
Labels for charts / Tables
Because this is not seen when working in an Excel spreadsheet, people don’t realize their labels are referencing other projects or not there at all.
Writing to locked cells
Locked cells don’t behave as unlocked ones. Do you know if you mistakenly have a locked cell?
Some of these factors are more critical than others, but if a spreadsheet is something you are working with everyday, why not take some steps to make sure it’s accurate? Click the button below to sign up for your free 60 minute consultation with Inverse-Square, and let us turn your rows and columns, into instant insights!Request a Consultation