Nightmare on Spreadsheet

A Cautionary Halloween Story


It is the witching hour on a cold Fall evening. You and your team have been working all day and into the night to create spreadsheets for each of your Recommending Managers to review. Hours and hours have been spent on these tasks:


– checking formulas

– combining data from multiple sources and databases

– then ensuring ALL the data is correct and up to date

– applying correct foreign exchange rates to those paid in other currencies

– mapping employees to the right managers

– password protecting each worksheet


Everyone but your team has gone home. It is eerily quiet except for the buzz from the overhead lights. Then you notice a steadily increasing sense of dread. You feel a pit deep down in your stomach, like a sequel to a familiar horror movie.


You tear into the spreadsheets again, asking your zombie-like team to go over it one last time, everyone’s bloodshot eyes burning from exhaustion. Assurance is given that everything is good. Fighting your fears, you decide it’s a go and release the multiple spreadsheets into the night. You breathe a sigh of relief.


And then it happens! Like a bat out of hell, an impending doom clawing at you that something is not as it should be. Hopefully, you will discover the issue before it comes back to bite you.


You shout out into the cold darkness, “Did we check that all the formulas copied over correctly? Have all the calculations been verified? Are the prorations correct? Did we pick up all the guarantees? Are any of the managers going to see some data that should not have access to? Have the appropriate cells been locked so they cannot be overwritten?”


You suddenly recall reading that 90% of spreadsheets have some sort of errors. Could it be possible? You are haunted by the feeling that SOMETHING WAS OVERLOOKED!!!

While this is a tale of fiction, the events depicted are all too real and have happened to many of us who have had responsibility for managing the Compensation process using spreadsheets.


But why are spreadsheets still so prevalent? They are inexpensive, relatively easy to use and have become a way of life for many of us. But what else is clear is that they can create as many, if not more problems than they can solve. And these problems can result in costly mistakes, wasted time and bad decisions along with high levels of frustration.


Isn’t it time to consider a less frightful way to manage your compensation?


Happy Halloween!

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