Overview of the Enterprise Spreadsheet Platform

The talent pools of most lenders depend heavily on the use of spreadsheets for myriad financial analyses. They are nimble tools for quickly prototyping complex financial models. Their supreme flexibility and ease of use demands no formal training in programming. Spreadsheets often evolve rapidly into critical applications relied upon at financial institutions.

However, when transferred frequently among employees by email, versions of the same core spreadsheet propagate. While most banks have established rules, standards and controls over their accounting systems and databases to check accuracy, spreadsheets are often overlooked.

An Intuitive Solution for Spreadsheet Risk Management

The Enterprise Spreadsheet Platform (ESP) helps banks avoid typical sources of spreadsheet risk by centralizing frequently-used files within a rock-solid enterprise solution. In fact, we designed ESP as a solution to a problem faced when implementing our cashflow simulation models for banking clients. While most banks had established rules, standards and controls over their accounting systems and databases, many did not have controls for smaller systems, like spreadsheets, to check accuracy or test multiple runs of data. Our product could not be properly integrated into a customer’s banking system without the careful control over the spreadsheets that are used in the SFS application.

ESP embeds spreadsheets inside a C++ wrapper application, callable from within the enterprise computing framework. The C++ layer allows the spreadsheet application to be linked to the bank’s main servers where it centralizes all computations and allows web-based user access.

End-users interact only with the application layer not the core, underlying spreadsheet. This is an essential, helpful control when providing documentation of Basel and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Only the bank’s designated super-users are able to view and modify the underlying spreadsheet analytics done in the familiar spreadsheet format rather than programming code. The ESP also streamlines the auditing process to thwart malicious or fraudulent use and to maintain compliance.