spreadsheet controls

Spreadsheet controls are a set of steps that an organization's accounting personnel can take to ensure accuracy and integrity of financial records and bookkeeping procedures.

Spreadsheet controls are a set of steps that an organization's accounting personnel can take to ensure accuracy and integrity of financial records and bookkeeping procedures. Achieving and maintaining effective spreadsheet control involves an ongoing effort to quickly identify and resolve errors and maintain the security of all information.

No matter how sophisticated and robust the hardware and software for a spreadsheet control system might be, it can work properly only when personnel receive thorough training. Long-term learning plans and frequent refresher seminars can keep employees informed and educated in the latest operational features. An effective spreadsheet control program should provide:

  • User access control including usernames, passwords, and biometric verification.
  • Up-to-date and complete roster of authorized users.
  • Access restrictions on cells that perform critical computations.
  • Strong encryption of critical data.
  • Accuracy checks for outgoing information.
  • Accuracy checks for incoming information.
  • Regular network hardware maintenance.
  • Cross-referencing and checksum processes to prevent data loss or corruption.
  • Thorough testing of new spreadsheet functions and features.
  • Incremental backup and scheduled archiving.
  • Offsite storage provisions.
  • Backup and archiving redundancy and use of multiple media types.
  • Pre-planned data recovery procedure.
  • Flexibility and ease of use.
This was first published in March 2012

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