20 entities in different parts of the world and all running different systems will typically take minutes rather than days to complete their group reporting using Cloud CFO.

Widely recognised as a major business risk, spreadsheet failure causes almost one in five large businesses to suffer financial losses and was a major factor in the high profile collapse of US energy giant Enron, with legal documents revealing that 24 per cent of the corporation’s spreadsheet formulas contained errors.

Spreadsheets are still used extensively in the preparation of British company accounts and as many as 20 per cent of group companies rely on them for the monthly consolidation and production of management accounts.

The lack of a system for checking or tracking who has made changes and when the changes were made increases the level of risk and accounts for over half of all errors, according to a recent study into their use. The scene is set for regulators and auditors to take increased interest in their use over the next two years and it is important to find ways to improve their data quality and validity.

Alternatives to the humble spreadsheet can have their downsides. Enterprise software solutions can prove costly and around a third of these implementations fail because the finance team is forced to change business as usual processes to adapt to the new systems.

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