Book a demo

See what OpsCheck.com can do for your business!

Try for free

See what OpsCheck.com can do for your business!

Finance firms need to skip spreadsheets

by Frank Caccio | April 2, 2020 | SaaS Project Management

It’s no secret that asset management firms use and email as tracking tools. Up to 75% of business use Excel for operations management and a surprising 70% use email for managing, archiving, and processing critical digital data.

Most large firms still use poorly managed spreadsheets or siloed emails when they build proprietary enterprise systems to address their needs. Small-to mid-size firms have been turning to software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. These are off the shelf systems intended to manage one aspect of their workflow that doesn’t integrate into other SaaS systems or replace the need for spreadsheets.

Why spreadsheets are a disaster in the making?

With was the holy grail of data organization for the financial industry. a one-stop program you could organize thousands of records, sort through them with a click of mouse, create presentations and more. Handwritten tabulations, paper manuals, and workflow charts on the wall were tossed in the bin the new world of automated computing.

It worked. It worked for a long time, until computers evolved to do even more things, faster and more efficiently. Spreadsheets do not have the flexibility to change when strategy changes—they all have to be rebuilt by hand to reflect the new idea. Even a solid system that takes data in and spits out the result has to be manually updated every reporting cycle.

They have fallen far behind newer approaches that reduce the risk of errors.

As the flow of data has increased, more people need access to that same data simultaneously. the spreadsheet is simply not up to that task because it can only be changed by one person at a time. Security challenges also create situations where someone who requires the data on one spreadsheet cannot even look at it without having their credentials approved one file at a time. All of this can cause workflow to grind to halt today’s real-time operating environments, even fifteen minutes down between success and failure.

Rigorous archiving demands structure

The asset management world mandates an avalanche of documentation and tracking. depends on paperwork memorializing it in digital form, and accessible to meet legal standards, internal company policies, and process documentation. The needs have, in turn, produced an entirely additional industry of data management providers and their software products. Yet, despite all this, many firms have cobbled together unrelated SaaS systems that are not designed to work together, and lock key decision makers out of the process when they need it the most.

Firms turn to band-aid approaches to make it all work—those spreadsheets and emails—to try to keep staff informed. Investment managers, for instance, can take on average 18 minutes searching for a critical document because they waste time finding the right program with the information or the right person who has more permission access to it than they do or, infuriatingly, discovering it is only in paper form and filed somewhere he or she has no idea how to find.

The complexity of documentation in the financial industry can involve over a dozen entities sharing data in a single transaction, from banks to custodians, internal officers, external managers, and counterparties. Each element involved can require a particular reporting format or software compatibility. While those differences need to be accounted for, the underlying data itself does not need to be scattered across multiple systems. It can be unified in a single software platform that feeds into the necessary reporting entities in order to reduce delays in processing and preserve data securely.

Why key people are data risks?

Asset management firms worry about key person risk all the time. The data analyst guru, the stock-picking wunderkind, and the client rain-maker all get attention. becomes more important for daily process and management are the integral staff that make data and productivity flow. Absent an integrated data management system, these staff members often need to resort to their own methods of information-sharing like emails or hand-held devices that vanish when they depart the firm. Even if their data is left behind, it can often be lost in grab-bag storage area devices and software with no way to understand how it all relates to each other.

Key data staff of all kinds such as compliance, human resources, and IT can unintentionally inhibit productivity and efficiency simply because they are often forced into ad-hoc solutions that only they . When these systems become tied to a single access person, scalability is impossible and crucial information lies hidden. Worse still, it can also be , so an entirely redundant system with its own particular flaws may be created.

Productivity goes up with automation and transparent systems

Spreadsheets need to be manually updated. They do not work in real-time, yet the entire asset management process has become a real-time industry. With the advent of cloud storage, all of third-party providers can update their information instantly. Presentations, reporting documentation and data charting all have become more sophisticated and demand flexibility that spreadsheets cannot provide.

Scalability has become key to growing productivity. What worked for a small client base must now take into account the ability to grow with new clients. The cloud allows for this scalability but only if a firm has the tools to access the information and data stored within it. Key person dependency will continue to exist but the tools those key people use need to be adaptable to their needs and, most importantly, accessible by anyone who needs it. A permissions scheme needs to exist, of course, but the availability for information-sharing is the step after it, not a gate-keeping tool.

The transition from spreadsheets and other manual systems can be complex and challenging. That does not mean it should not be done. A little short-term difficulty will be well worth the effort by producing new system processes that will be much more flexible and changeable. By creating a uniform data and information source as an underlying management tool, the expression and manipulation of that data can take a multitude of forms without walling off the original data from other users.

How OpsCheck can help?

OpsCheck is an Operations/Compliance Control and Oversight application that mitigates Operational Risk, enhances communication, offers full transparency, and makes everyone accountable. OpsCheck brings proven advances in task, project and workflow management software to you in a single tool. No more spreadsheets, emails and Outlook are needed for managing business operations. It’s easy to get started, easy to operate and is cost effective. Many reputable firms have already subscribed. Internal and external stakeholders will appreciate its value. OpsCheck promotes a culture of Operational Excellence!

See how OpsCheck can upgrade
your Business Operations