Escape Spreadsheet Hell

Escape Spreadsheet Hell

GECKO Governance
4 min readDec 2, 2020


Spreadsheets have been the backbone of financial services for decades, having been around since 1985, even though technology has changed dramatically along the way. They have many great features and is often seen as the go-to tool to get the job done. When things go wrong however, they can go very wrong — as illustrated by the most recent system failure in the UK where an excel spreadsheet error meant almost 16,000 cases of COVID-19 went unreported.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with spreadsheets; they are excellent tools for many different jobs, but data visualisation and data communication is not one of them.

Some common Excel nightmares for large organisations include -

  • It Requires Excessive Maintenance: When you think of companies who maintain a lot of Excel data on distributed servers or even on local computers, valuable time is wasted searching for documentation and it is labour intensive when consolidating and analysing data. In the case of financial institutions, they typically have multiple branches or subsidiaries, and all of them use Excel files for reporting, which can be very challenging when trying to compile all of that data into one spreadsheet. As a result Excel is costly, both financially and operationally.
  • It is Only a Single-User Application: Team members from various departments need to share information with one another, especially during peak periods. Excel is designed for the use of an individual and does not support multiple users simultaneously entering and reviewing data very well.
  • It Creates Inconsistent Data: Because spreadsheets are loosely structured, it is easy for someone to introduce an error, either accidentally or intentionally, by entering information in the wrong place or expressing dependencies among cells incorrectly. Moreover, version control is difficult to achieve and maintain, and they provide little-to-no protection against data corruption, no data validation or error checking.
  • It is Inherently Insecure: No one can govern data as spreadsheets can be accessed by most users with no control of who is seeing what nor do they offer the transparency financial institutions require in today’s complex regulatory environment.
  • Regulatory Compliance Issues: Spreadsheets lack key functionality for managing compliance initiatives. For global companies, the problem becomes hugely complex with a lack of standardisation and traceability. The risks include increased audit fees and the associated compliance costs. Moreover, countries around the world are holding businesses accountable for the safety of the massive amounts of data they hold, with regulations such as the EU Data Protection Directive creating a higher standard that many spreadsheets do not reach.
  • Slowdown in Decision Making: Consolidating and extracting data from spreadsheets, especially when this information must be compiled from different departments or locations, is time consuming, even more so when a company is experiencing data integrity issues and must thoroughly validate the information. As a result, critical business decisions can be delayed as management waits for spreadsheet data to be finalised for their review.

Here’s how GECKO Governance solves the above problems -

  • Easy-to-use Solution: Designed with both financial services and technology expertise and a heavy focus on incorporating behavioural science principles to our solution, GECKO is built to be as user friendly as possible. Our solution allows users to drill down into any underlying information within a mere 3 clicks of a button.
  • Multi-User Application: GECKO Governance is built to allow many users simultaneously work on the same system and on the same data at any given time. Due to the role-based permission management, the system ensures data integrity where all data is available anywhere and anytime.
  • Centralised Data Management: Effective interaction and oversight of third parties and their activity from one centralised, understandable dashboard eliminates the need to send data forth and back when the most up-to-date files can be accessed anywhere, at any time through the GECKO system.
  • Secure By Nature: Spreadsheets lack controls on who can see and modify particular data. This, combined with the lack of auditing, can make it easy for someone to misrepresent information. With GECKO, all tasks and activities can be easily managed and shared only with those permissioned within a secure, data compliant environment so key decisions are properly taken, documented and archived. Such tracking can allow information to be instantly accessible to the regulator.

A digital transformation for any business brings a number of benefits -

  • On-going cost savings and efficiencies
  • Streamlined business operations and improved client relationships
  • Faster and easier access to, and distribution of, information
  • A reduction in its carbon footprint

Contact us to learn how GECKO Governance can allow your firm to digitally transform seamlessly -

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GECKO Governance

Providing much needed Transparency, Compliance & Accountability To The Financial Services Industry