Death by Spreadsheet: Are Spreadsheets Killing Your Business?

20th November 2023

Death by Spreadsheet: Are Spreadsheets Killing Your Business?

For the last 40 years, spreadsheets have been an essential tool for managing and analysing critical information. However, their seemingly innocent simplicity can lead to a slew of problems that might be silently eroding your company’s efficiency and competitiveness. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the perils of over-reliance on spreadsheets and explore how RegTech can provide a lifeline for businesses drowning in data.


Spreadsheets have been an integral part of business operations for decades. They’re versatile, familiar, and readily available. Yet, they pose a paradox—sometimes a blessing, and at other times, a curse.

Spreadsheets provide a swift remedy for organising data and analysing information, serving as a reliable ally in the realm of compliance processes. However, their widespread use can sometimes mask the hidden complexities and challenges that they bring to the business world. Despite the technological advancements that have reshaped our business processes, spreadsheets remain firmly entrenched in our daily operations. The reasons for their enduring allure are multifaceted. The familiarity they offer is a comfort that many find hard to relinquish, even in the face of more modern alternatives.

Human Error

While spreadsheets offer a structured way to input and manipulate data, their accuracy is ultimately dependent on the human factor. Any data-driven business knows that human errors can creep into the cells, potentially leading to miscalculations and inaccuracies that can have far-reaching consequences.

Version control and data integrity issues

As multiple versions of spreadsheets circulate within a company, the challenge of version control unfolds. This not only complicates collaboration but can also compromise the integrity of the data. Ensuring everyone works on the latest version becomes a struggle, and reconciling discrepancies can be a time-consuming ordeal.

Time and productivity drains

Spreadsheets might appear as time-saving tools, but contrastingly, they can lead to time and productivity drains. The very manual data entry and formula corrections that were intended to streamline processes often become the silent culprits of reduced efficiency. The time spent troubleshooting could be better invested. 

Evolving Regulatory Landscape

The regulatory environment is in a constant state of flux, becoming an increasingly intricate maze for businesses to navigate. New rules and regulations emerge, and existing ones are revised, creating a complex web of compliance requirements that must be continuously addressed.

Risk of Non-Compliance

Falling short of regulatory compliance carries severe consequences. Businesses that fail to comply can face substantial fines that can put a significant dent in their finances. Beyond financial penalties, non-compliance can result in reputational damage, eroding the trust of clients and stakeholders. Legal consequences and the associated costs can also arise, leading to protracted legal battles that divert valuable resources.

Spreadsheets Failure in Meeting Regulatory Requirements

While spreadsheets are praised for their versatility and simplicity, they often fall short in meeting the growing demands of regulatory compliance. Spreadsheets struggle to handle complex data structures efficiently and securely. Their limitations in real-time data tracking can lead to inaccuracies and reporting delays, increasing the risk of compliance violations.


RegTech represents a dynamic blend of innovation and technology to address the intricate demands of regulatory compliance. It leverages cutting-edge tools and approaches to streamline and enhance compliance processes. RegTech is all about embracing change and harnessing technology to create efficient and agile solutions that ensure businesses stay on the right side of the law.

RegTech stands in stark contrast to traditional compliance approaches. It is not bound by the constraints of manual processes, spreadsheets, and static systems. RegTech embraces automation, real-time data analysis, and adaptability, offering a swift response to the ever-evolving regulatory landscape. It represents a paradigm shift from reactive to proactive compliance strategies.

Automation and Data Analysis

RegTech excels in automation and data analysis, reducing errors and ensuring continuous, accurate compliance. Data analysis provides valuable insights for informed decisions and proactive compliance management.

Real-Time Monitoring, Reporting, and Risk Mitigation

RegTech solutions introduce real-time monitoring capabilities that keep a vigilant eye on compliance-related activities. This ensures that issues are spotted and resolved as they occur, reducing the risk of non-compliance. Real-time reporting not only provides instant visibility into compliance status, but also facilitates timely decision-making. Beyond monitoring and reporting, RegTech excels at risk mitigation, enabling businesses to proactively identify and address potential compliance risks.

Accelerating Efficiency with RegTech

While spreadsheets have been valuable tools, the complexities of modern regulatory environments and the need for efficiency and accuracy have driven the adoption of RegTech solutions in many industries. RegTech triumphs by providing advanced technological solutions that address the limitations of traditional spreadsheet-based approaches to regulatory compliance. RegTech tools offer an opportunity to streamline compliance operations seamlessly, by automating data inputs, validations, and calculations, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring that data is consistently accurate. This acceleration of workflow productivity empowers businesses to work smarter, not harder.

Automation & Validation

One of the primary challenges of spreadsheet-based compliance is the potential for human error. RegTech addresses this by automating repetitive tasks and implementing validation checks, leaving no room for mistakes. This not only improves data accuracy but also frees up valuable time for employees to focus on more strategic tasks.


Spreadsheets can become unwieldy and error-prone as the volume of data and complexity of regulations increase. RegTech scales easily to handle growing amounts of data and regulatory requirements.

Audit Trail and Compliance Tracking

Spreadsheets lack robust audit trail features, making it challenging to track changes and demonstrate compliance. RegTech maintains a comprehensive audit trail, enabling businesses to track compliance activities and demonstrate adherence to regulations.

Regulatory Reporting

RegTech streamlines the process of generating and submitting regulatory reports by automating data extraction and formatting. This alleviates the manual effort required through spreadsheets to compile and format data and offers reports in real-time, ensuring accuracy.


RegTech can be more cost-effective in the long run by reducing manual labor, minimising errors, and streamlining compliance processes. Traditional spreadsheets may incur hidden costs associated with errors, inefficiencies and the need for extensive manual oversight.

Security and Compliance with Data Privacy

RegTech often comes with robust security features to ensure compliance with data privacy regulations. Whereas spreadsheets may lack advanced security features, posing a risk to sensitive data.

With regulations continuously becoming more complex, relying solely on spreadsheets to manage critical data and ensure compliance can be a recipe for disaster. However, the integration of RegTech solutions can offer a lifeline to businesses drowning in spreadsheets. By automating processes, enhancing data accuracy, and providing real-time insights, RegTech can help businesses thrive in the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Embracing this technology can lead to enhanced productivity, reduced risks, and a competitive edge in the market.

To find out how REG can automate your processes, book a demo with our team

This article was published by:

Article author:

Victoria Slade

Victoria Slade is our Head of Sales at REG Technologies. Victoria helps insurance businesses adopt RegTech solutions, to manage existing and emerging regulatory and legal risks efficiently.

020 3946 2880

See how The REG Network can help you

Talk to one of our experts to start streamlining your processes