Start Issues arise concerned with consilidating departments

Issues arise concerned with consilidating departments

He was able to close the pump and substitute piped for pumped water, almost immediately ending the outbreak.

In a webinar titled Avoiding Five Spreadsheet Pitfalls, presented by Ventana Research and Financial Force.com, Kugel sought to inform attendees of the dangers of spreadsheets by listing the top five problems that arise when finance departments rely heavily on Excel, while acknowledging that spreadsheets will never -- and should never -- be abolished entirely.

Kugel explained that the phenomenon of having two or more versions of a spreadsheet with inconsistent data is so common that it has given rise to its own term: dueling spreadsheets.

According to Ventana research, 54% of companies that characterized themselves as substantial spreadsheet users take seven or more days to perform the monthly close.

And it's not just the closing process that is slowed.

But while spreadsheet errors can certainly cause monumental problems -- Kugel pointed to J. Morgan's $6.2 billion trading losses that resulted from errors in spreadsheets used for analysis -- he acknowledged that most are fairly innocuous.

However, that can cause users to take a lax attitude toward errors, which can be dangerous.

Dealing with social determinants will not only resolve the issue over the long term, but will make alleviating the current effects of the issue possible also.

To eliminate cholera, one of the most important steps is to provide people with clean drinking water.

Additions or deletions made to some versions but not others can also create variances.

"Sometimes the differences between spreadsheets are not all that important, or you can work around them, but in many cases it's important not to waste time trying to resolve whose spreadsheet is right, because they could all be wrong," Kugel said.

Follow her on Twitter @emmajs24 and the site @Search Fin Apps.