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Form(ula) and Function: PrizmDoc Cells for Finance

Spreadsheets are to finance what cranes are to construction. As a result, financial services organizations including traditional banks, tax companies, insurance agencies, and fintech firms opt for software-driven spreadsheet solutions as standard operating procedures. The problem? Ubiquitous spreadsheet software introduces a host of cybersecurity, compliance, and collaboration challenges, especially as regulatory and operational requirements evolve around the use, storage, and sharing of clients’ financial data.

Accusoft’s newest addition to the PrizmDoc Suite — PrizmDoc Cells — offers both form(ula) and functional advantages for financial data entry and integrity.


Managing Market Forces

As noted by Forbes, the finance market is changing. Recent survey data found that 69 percent pointed to fintech firms as a “lifeline” during the current crisis. And these shifts are ongoing. Even once pandemic pressures begin to ease, there’s no going back from the speed and convenience offered to users when brick-and-mortar locations were locked down. 

Financial firms across multiple markets that made the move online application processing, claims evaluation, and loan approvals must now support these initiatives at scale — but many are now finding themselves frustrated by the limitations of current spreadsheet solutions.


Addressing Operational Challenges

Familiar spreadsheet software offers straightforward function: Staff can enter relevant data and derive actionable output through formulas. But these tools also pose problems for finance firms, including:

  • Operational errorsAs noted by CFO, 88 percent of spreadsheets contain some type of error. These include errors in formulas, human data entry issues that create impossible data ranges, and even hidden fonts that can impact the outcome of calculations. This is no small issue — for one financial firm, a missing negative sign caused a 2.6 billion dollar mistake in reporting net capital losses, forcing the company to cancel year-end dividend distributions.
  • Version consistencyThe more people handle and modify a spreadsheet, the harder it is to identify the “right” version. This becomes especially problematic as spreadsheets are saved to desktops or mobile devices, then modified and sent back into corporate email environments.
  • Data securityWhile email presents a significant spreadsheet security risk, the same is true of any solution — cloud-based, on-premises or a mix of both — that allows users to download, copy, and share spreadsheets. Consider the case of a well-meaning user who downloads a financial spreadsheet from a cloud app and then sends it to his personal email so he can work on them remotely. If this email account is compromised, so too are any supposedly secure spreadsheets, putting financial firms at risk of regulatory compromise.
  • Ongoing Time and effortFrom the time needed to track down and verify the most recent and accurate version of key spreadsheets to the effort required if data is entered incorrectly and requires remediation, current software tools often see staff focused on putting out formula and framework fires instead of moving financial firms forward.

Gaining Control

PrizmDoc Cells changes the spreadsheet paradigm by shifting data out of proprietary software and into the application of your choice. As a web-based spreadsheet viewer and editor designed to natively support XLSX files, PrizmDoc Cells provides the ability to securely embed spreadsheet data into any website, intranet, portal or CMS application without compromising security. This makes it possible for independent software vendors (ISVs) and other fintech providers to deliver the best of both worlds: Familiar functions in a user-friendly, online form that’s separated from the critical formulas and proprietary business logic behind-the-scenes.

Key benefits of PrizmDoc Cells include:

  • Solve for proprietary dependenciesExcel remains the de facto spreadsheet standard for many organizations but also locks financial firms into a cycle of software dependency — and if legacy applications or in-house tools don’t work well with Excel, firms face extra operational steps to ensure reliable data access. PrizmDoc Cells solves this proprietary problem by allowing any application to import, edit, and export XLSX files without Excel dependencies.

  • Safeguard source dataIn many cases, end-users need to view spreadsheets and make minor edits but can’t be granted access to original files. With PrizmDoc Cells, fintech providers can secure intellectual property by removing end-user access to proprietary source files, encrypting the data, and hosting it securely in their own environments.

  • Separate underlying logic and UIWhile proprietary business logic, formulas, and calculations form the basis of spreadsheet value and actionable insight, users don’t need the ability to see — or modify — these functions. PrizmDoc Cells lets administrators control what’s visible, what’s accessible, and what’s changeable to ensure spreadsheet consistency.

  • Streamline version controlBy removing the need for client-side software installs and downloads, PrizmDoc Cells sets the stage for enhanced version control. While users can view and edit spreadsheets with the right permissions, these spreadsheets are continually updated with the most recent changes to ensure version consistency. 

  • Start ASAPPrizmDoc Cells makes it easy for companies to get started and get building their best-fit spreadsheet solution by using the simplicity and speed of Docker containers. Instead of worrying about potential conflicts with other software or issues with specific operating system requirements, companies can start up a PrizmDoc Cells container in a matter of seconds.

Securely Embed Your Data Now

Even as the value proposition evolves, the volume of spreadsheets processed by financial firms continues to grow. For industry operators, this presents a challenge: How do they align evolving client expectations with current spreadsheet limitations? 

For ISVs, this offers an opportunity. Empowered by PrizmDoc Cells, vendors can offer a new take on spreadsheet form and function that delivers ease of integration and on-demand customization without breaking the bank — or increasing regulatory risk.

Unlock the PrizmDoc Cells potential — try the online demo today and experience the future of formula and function.