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Volume 27, Issue 3

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February 12, 2014

Using spreadsheets to manage risk is risky business indeed!

Spreadsheets should be banned from the risk management process says Keith Ricketts.

Spreadsheets are universally loved. Why? Because they give everyone their own version of the truth, with complete autonomy to update and amend them as often as they like, without interference from anyone else. However, while spreadsheets might be great tool at an individual level they are completely un-scalable, and therefore totally unsuitable for compiling and analysing information enterprise-wide, or even for individual projects.

When applied to a risk management scenario, the potential horrors magnify. Who knows what risks are lurking in a spreadsheet so far undiscovered, with all around thinking that they have ‘ticked the box’ and that risk is managed.  Using spreadsheets and emails to manage risk, is a very risky approach.

Here are the main reasons that the spreadsheet approach doesn’t work:

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