Spreadsheets and the risk of manual intervention

Spreadsheets are powerful tools that enable users to easily customize their own data analyses around a wide range of business applications. However, asset managers must carefully consider their limitations. Ray Panko, a professor of IT management and leading authority on spreadsheet practices, claims in “What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors,” published in the Journal of End User Computing, that 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors. He notes that “these error rates, furthermore, are completely consistent with error rates found in other human activities.” No matter how careful we try to be, it is simply in our nature to make mistakes.  But bad data leads to bad decisions – and are you willing to base critical business decisions on calculations that could be inaccurate nearly nine out of ten times?

Beyond data issues, operations teams that rely on manual processes supported by spreadsheets may be limiting their ability to grow in a flexible manner. Firms that rely on manual processes are often unable to react to changing market conditions. For example, investment professionals who rely on custom reporting to make informed decisions can be severely affected should manual processes fail to produce information in a timely fashion. In addition, firms that manage operations on multiple spreadsheets typically rely on individuals to interpret data, creating dependencies on staff and opportunities for errors. Sound operational processes that can accommodate growth must not require large projects to adapt to changing market conditions and investment requirements, but rather support change in a controlled manner to ensure quality throughout operations.

The only way to ensure that your decisions are based on reliable data is to minimize manual intervention as much as possible. For asset managers, a middle-to-back-office solution that automates business-critical functions reduces operational risk by executing the processes that would normally be performed by operations staff. Automation removes the possibility for human error and frees up your organization to focus resources on functions that support your core mission of managing money. 

SS&C provides a broad set of middle- to back-office capabilities that allow investment managers to automate the day-to-day activity in investment portfolios to support global accounting requirements. Offered on a deployed and hosted basis, the solution supports a wide range of functions including corporate action processing, internal reporting, client reporting, regulatory reporting, performance measurement and attribution and post trade compliance. For more information on how SS&C PORTIA can eliminate spreadsheets in your organization and automate your investment operations, please download our brochure, request more information or a demonstration, or email us at solution@sscinc.com.