With risk, cost and process inefficiencies multiplied by complexity, spreadsheet-based currency management has surely had its day. But what added value does currency management automation software bring to the table? In this roundtable discussion, three industry experts explore the opportunities.
EH: What do you consider to be the main disadvantages of managing currencies on spreadsheets versus purpose-built technology?
TR: The first thing that comes to mind is the operational risk. Excel often has a life of its own. Spreadsheets tend to pass through many different hands, becoming more complex, often to a point where nobody dares touch the formulae, even when they need to be updated because the underlying business has changed. Companies can find they’ve built their own ‘black boxes’ that no one fully understands.
Using Excel can also increase the risk of making mistakes and of not understanding or even being able to find or correct those mistakes. But it goes far beyond operational risk. With large values, currency volatility can create a huge impact on corporate accounts. A company may implement a robust foreign exchange [FX] policy, but through the inherent risks of using Excel, if those processes are not being followed in real time, FX risk can increase. Also, the labour-intensity of spreadsheets detracts from time spent on other activities, so it’s worth asking if this model is imposing limitations.
Moderator: Eleanor Hill, Editor, TMI (EH)