The market for providing complementary products to Microsoft
Excel comes from two directions: business intelligence vendors
aiming to provide additional functionality, especially in the area
of automation and development, and a second group of suppliers that
address this market from the perspective of governance and
compliance, providing the auditing, security and control that is
lacking in Excel. In this latter category there are two broad
categories of products: control and compliance tools and
auditor’s tools. Spreadsheet Advantage’s suite of tools
addresses the auditor’s market.
Note that auditors in this context covers two distinct
functions: in the first instance, best practice in the development
of spreadsheets is for a segregation of roles between the author,
editor, auditor and user of spreadsheets, where auditor in this
context refers to a function that is internal to the company.
Needless to say, auditing is also an external function. In fact,
Spreadsheet Advantage is suitable for use by both internal and
external auditors. However, a further point to appreciate is that
the more that you have internal processes in place (such as the
segregation of roles) to ensure the validity of your spreadsheets,
then the less work will be required by external auditors and the
lower their resulting fees. In other words, implementing internal
auditing processes will save money not just because you are basing
your decisions on more accurate and reliable information but also
through reduced annual fees.
Specifically, Spreadsheet Advantage includes tools for row and
column alignments, sheet comparisons, spreadsheet analysis,
circularity discovery, a sheet mapping tool that allows you to see
the structure of your spreadsheets, and precedent and dependent
analysis, amongst others.