||SPREADSHEETS are notoriously difficult to
validate. Undetected errors have caused large financial losses and
expensive litigation. The Spreadsheet
Detective provides many features that can reduce errors and
aid in model risk management.
The Case of the Invisible Spreadsheet Errors...
The mob wants to rub out the North Side gang, but will the massacre
pay? No self respecting gangster would take such action without first
building a spreadsheet. But it won't balance! Can the Spreadsheet
Detective save the day? Stay tuned to find out
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Audit Features
The Spreadsheet Detective is used by thousands of spreadsheet professionals to:-
- Provide an overview with comprehensive workbook
reports, data flow analysis and error detection.
- Show which cells have formulas and how they have been
copied throughout a model.
- Clarify cryptic "A1" references using English AutoNames.
- Use a non modal window to describe many aspects of the current
cell and formula.
- Evaluate intermediate values and cell references of complex formulas.
- Easily follow complex precedent and dependent relationships.
- Compare different spreadsheets with both a succinct report and
- Manage Scenarios, and perform Monte Carlo simulations.
- Encrypt sensitive workbooks without the risk of losing the
- Analyze sensitivity relationships.
- Assist with the understanding and manipulation of Named Ranges.
- And much more...
In combination these clarify the structure of complex models.
They go well beyond Excel's built in auditing features.
Bottom Line —
"Spreadsheet Detective is
one of the
longest established and most comprehensive suites of auditing tools
that we have seen. This is not to say that other products may not have
features that are not in Spreadsheet Detective or that, in some
instances, we might prefer a competitor’s implementation of a
particular feature but, overall, the product is clearly the market
leader, and deservedly so."
Compliance Detective — End User Computing Model Risk Management
Compliance Detective can record meta data about spreadsheet models that
document their risk profile. It can then produce company wide reports
of the models, their risk profile, and when they had formulas (as
to data) changed.
Rules can be provided as to when formal reviews are required, and the
tool can then track who has reviewed them.
The Compliance Detective can quickly scan large repositories such as
Box.com, and can optionally utilize its own cloud services.
It has been used effectively by a large financial services company that
has thousands of spreadsheet analysts. More...
Stress Testing Spreadsheet Models
A key aspect of model risk
management is to stress test each model to determine how its
predictions will vary based on different assumptions. The
Spreadsheet Detective provide an advanced scenario manager that can
manage this process, as well as automatically generating different
combinations of assumption parameters.
European Users Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group (EuSpRiG)
main center for research into the nature and seriousness of spreadsheet
errors, as well as methods to avoid them. Their website contains
many academic and industry papers, plus links to researchers in the
They also provide a list of some very public failures at eusprig.org/horror-stories.htm
However, most failures are never publicized.
The Spreadsheet Detective is a proud sponsor of EuSpRiG.
Excel Spreadsheets Risks & Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
The following is an extract from The
Use of Spreadsheets: Considerations for Section 404 of the
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that 20% to 40% of spreadsheets have
errors, but recent audits of 54 spreadsheets found that 49 (or 91%) had
errors, according to research by Raymond R. Panko, a professor at the
University of Hawaii.”
"The Journal of Property Management stated, “30 to 90 percent of all
spreadsheets suffer from at
least one major user error. The range in error rates depends on the
complexity of the spreadsheet being tested. In addition, none of the
tests included spreadsheets with more than 200 line items where the
probability of error approaches 100 percent.”
"Perform an on line search
for spreadsheet errors or spreadsheet audit, and you will find a number
of major failures attributed to spreadsheet inaccuracies that hit the
press in the past year alone."
The Original Spreadsheet Detective
Detective has been revealing modeling errors since
1997. Many features have been added since that time based on
extensive customer feedback. Other less established spreadsheet
auditing tools may offer
some superficially similar features, but they lack the depth and
quality of the Spreadsheet Detective.
Detective has thousands of active users. Companies
with site licenses include:
(Libre/Open Office Calc Detective)
(The Spreadsheet Detective should
not be confused with the "Detective" feature in Libre/Open Office Calc
which just provides similar features to Excel's in built audit
arrows. The Spreadsheet Detective
has been available since 1997, and the use of the same name for the
Calc feature is unfortunate. Generally, while Calc may be an
adequate tool for the casual spreadsheet user, it is not recommended
for developing serious quantitative models.)
Pricing and Support
The Detective is priced very reasonably as
can be seen on the Price List.
There is also a Free
Excel versions are supported from Office 365 down to Excel
2010. Please direct any questions
to the email below. The Spreadsheet
an essential tool when building complex Excel spreadsheets.
Southern Cross Software
Queensland Pty Ltd
ABN 41 079
Comprehensive Workbook Report
Provides a bird's eye view of complex models by summarizing each
worksheet, highlighting potential error conditions, showing data flow
worksheet, references to external workbooks etc.
Distinct and Copied Formulas
Cell shading clearly shows which
cells have formulas, and how they have
(or have not!) been copied
throughout a spreadsheet. Bold shading highlights inconsistent
formulas on larger models. The shading is on the actual model, so that
it can be seen
while the model is being developed.
This information can also be shown on a condensed map report.
Symbols show how formulas have been copied, and comments show the
The blue, yellow and red background colors indicate potential errors
and issues that have been automatically detected.
Pretty prints the formula in the active cell so
that complex formulas are easy to read. Each of the cell
references are hyperlinks so clicking on them goes quickly to the
corresponding precedent. Hovering over cells, functions or
operators also shows their evaluated values. Unused branches of
IFs are grayed out.
Cell references are also annotated with green "English" AutoNames
clarify their meanings. Issues and potential errors are shown in
purple below, with the corresponding fragments of the formula shown in
red. These include things that might be hidden such as named
range descriptions, locked cell status, validations and conditional
formats. Other annotations show the source of error values.
Original formula: =IF($C$8>$C$7,Allocations!$E$26*J101/($B$101-$I$101-
$F$101),INDEX($F$14:$H$14, MATCH(J3, $F$5:$H$5)))+123
The dialog is non-modal and automatically tracks the active cell,
although it is temporarily frozen when examining precedents.
also several keyboard shortcuts.
Dependent cells may also be displayed, with ranges of dependent cells
collapsed into a single reference. There is also an option to
show how formulas are copied, and to display the dialog in a task pane.
Formula AutoName Report
Provides a complete list of all distinct formulas and named
AutoNames clarify cryptic A1 references.
Audit Process Control
Mark formulas as verified, questionable or erroneous.
Collate them in a workbook audit status report.
Control your communications with the model author
Scenarios and Monte Carlo Simulation
Consider different scenarios or perform full Monte Carlo
simulations. Manage uncertainty and avoid the flaw of averages.
Full Graphical Formula Annotations
Completely describes a model by annotating the spreadsheet
Clearly shows changes between different versions of a model even if
columns have been inserted or deleted.
Provides both annotations and a succinct report by unifying changed
copies of a formula.
Shows which parts of complex formulas have changed.
Can also compare different parts of the same worksheet.
Quick Model Navigator
Quickly navigate to worksheets or named ranges by just typing a few
characters from their name.
A shortcut manager also enables arbitrary keyboard shortcuts to be
assigned to any command, not just those from Spreadsheet Detective
Master Key Encryption
You know you should encrypt your extremely sensitive workbooks, but
what if you lose the password?
Master key encryption makes protecting your data practical.
Precedents & Dependents Reports
Provide a detailed outline report to see where values is comming from
and where they are going.
Discover where your spreadsheet models are, and what other models link
Obtain a new perspective by examining each formula's sensitivity.
Named Range Dialog
View and edit named ranges, easily verifiy their definitions and
automatically update the formulas that