Study Finds Spreadsheet Risk is Real; Businesses are Aware of the Risk—Yet Despite Relying on this Data to Make Key Business Decisions—the Risk is Ignored

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ForresterIncisiveStudy–Incisive Software today announced results of a study that evaluates
spreadsheet risk. The findings confirm companies are exposing themselves
to financial and reputational risk by overlooking spreadsheet
vulnerabilities. The Forrester Opportunity Snapshot, a custom study
conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Incisive Software,
reveals that spreadsheet risk carries real implications for not only
organizations, but customers, and shareholders.

According to the Forrester Consulting study, “[Spreadsheet] risk is
real—and many frontline workers recognize this. However, nearly a third
of respondents noted that management doesn’t recognize this risk,
underscoring the fact that C-level executives are making decisions based
on data assumed to be accurate, but that can contain errors.”

Eighty-eight percent of respondents use more than 100 complex and
customized spreadsheets to support their critical business processes.
And while there is a very high level of concern with the inherent risk
associated with spreadsheets, fewer than 20 percent feel empowered or
ready to tackle the problem.

“Despite the reputational and financial risk, it’s astonishing that
organizations are regularly making top- and bottom-line decisions under
the assumption that data within spreadsheets is accurate and complete,”
said Diane Robinette, CEO of Incisive Software. “Excel is a powerful
tool, and as this research proves, its use is prevalent across all areas
and levels of every organization. Asking employees to stop using Excel
is not the answer, nor is turning a blind-eye. Businesses must
acknowledge the risk and raise their standards on what they expect out
of their spreadsheet risk management programs. Modernizing these
programs with spreadsheet risk management technology will greatly
mitigate risks.”

Almost a third of respondents noted that their organizations use over
10,000 spreadsheets on a regular basis. While 53 percent of respondents
were very concerned with the idea of spreadsheet risk, only 19 percent
were actively working to change their risk exposure. Twenty-three
percent believed they were not in a position to change their
organizations’ approaches, and 11 percent did not understand where to
begin tackling the problem.

The study also confirmed spreadsheets remain the dominant medium for
business-critical tasks. For example,

  • Despite easy manipulation and a lack of inherent controls, nearly 50
    percent of companies still rely on spreadsheets alone to do their
    auditing and controls — a process necessary for risk assessment and
    compliance management.
  • Over 35 percent of finance and accounting departments regularly use
    spreadsheets to fuel their decision making.
  • Thirty-one percent of operations departments (including sales
    operations and marketing operations) rely on spreadsheets.
  • Nearly one in five governance, risk, and compliance professionals
    depends on spreadsheet accuracy. Over a third of customer/account data
    analysis is purely manual and contained within spreadsheets; another
    third is done within a combination of spreadsheets and other
    databases. This exposes organizations not only to poor analysis, but
    also to customer data breaches

Want to learn more about spreadsheet risk? The Forrester Opportunity
Snapshot study can be accessed here.

Want to hear directly from the experts? Register
for the June 18th webinar
, “Think Spreadsheet Risk Isn’t
a Threat? Think Again.” This thought-leadership discussion features
Forrester Principal Analyst Renee Murphy and Incisive Software CEO Diane
Robinette. Murphy and Robinette will share why companies that prioritize
mitigating spreadsheet risk are better positioned to protect customers,
revenue, and reputation.

Methodology: The survey was conducted by Forrester Consulting in March
2019, with professionals at the manager level and above at 170 mid- to
large-size North American businesses. All survey participants routinely
make business-critical decisions based on data in spreadsheets.

About Incisive Software

Incisive Software provides award-winning spreadsheet risk intelligence
solutions that identify, manage and reduce risk exposure in
business-critical processes that use or interact with spreadsheets.
Incisive employs a modern and automated approach to proactively and
continuously manage the compliance, process and decision finding and
then managing the risk embedded in business critical spreadsheets. For
more information about Incisive and the company’s solutions, visit


Julie Dearing for Incisive Software

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