Unchecked Use of Spreadsheets Can Lead to Major Accounting and Financial Reporting Problems; New Protiviti Guide Helps Companies Manage Spreadsheet Risk

    Continued workforce reductions also contribute to increased risk

    MENLO PARK, Calif., June 29 /CNW/ -- There have been many cases in recent
years where multimillion dollar reporting errors, corporate fraud, and
countless material weakness and deficiency filings can be attributed to the
misuse of one well-known business tool - a spreadsheet used without the proper
controls. Currently relied upon for everything from simple data analysis to
complex financial models, spreadsheets have been stretched far beyond their
originally intended use, triggering problems ranging from minor calculation
errors to bad decision-making. Protiviti Inc., a business consulting and
internal audit firm, is helping companies to effectively mitigate spreadsheet
risks with its new guide: Spreadsheet Risk Management: Frequently Asked

    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090115/AQTH541LOGO)

    High profile spreadsheet-related errors, frequently uncovered during
Sarbanes Oxley or other compliance-related activities, have resulted in
complex regulation and spurred more businesses to assess how they rely on
spreadsheets and where they have risks or weaknesses that need to be

    "Potential financial losses due to errors and fraud, regulatory pressure
and increasing focus from auditors are forcing organizations to address
spreadsheet risk management, though we've found that few have properly
assessed this enterprise issue or know how to fix it," said Kurt Underwood,
managing director and global leader of Protiviti's Information Technology
Effectiveness and Control practice. "If spreadsheets aren't managed properly
and employees aren't trained sufficiently, there is greater risk of
significant financial losses or information leakage at a time when virtually
every business is seeking to streamline costs as much as possible. In
addition, workforce reductions are creating shifting job responsibilities and
increased workloads that will likely increase this risk even more. Protiviti
developed this practical FAQ guide to assist companies in managing spreadsheet
risk before they experience significant financial loss and damaged

    In its resource guide, Protiviti takes readers through all aspects of
spreadsheet risk - from a high-level situation overview to training and
awareness. Sections include:

    --  Executive ownership and governance
    --  Creating a library of critical spreadsheets
    --  Implementing a spreadsheet control framework
    --  Assessing spreadsheet controls and current risk exposure
    --  Gaining assurance over critical spreadsheets
    --  Spreadsheet risk indicators and reporting
    --  Resources
    --  Technology enabling effective spreadsheet risk management

    "Spreadsheets were never designed to be enterprise-level applications,"
said Michael Schultz, a Protiviti managing director in the firm's Information
Technology Effectiveness and Control practice. "As spreadsheets become more
complex and are used to support critical business processes in organizations,
their use is also more prone to error. Vigilant risk management is required to
avoid embarrassing and potentially costly financial reporting or key business
decision-making errors."

    To obtain a complimentary copy of Protiviti's Spreadsheet Risk
Management: Frequently Asked Questions, please visit

    About Protiviti
    Protiviti (www.protiviti.com) is a global business consulting and
internal audit firm composed of experts specializing in risk, advisory and
transaction services. The firm helps solve problems in finance and
transactions, operations, technology, litigation, governance, risk, and
compliance. Protiviti's highly trained, results-oriented professionals provide
a unique perspective on a wide range of critical business issues for clients
in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

    Protiviti has more than 60 locations worldwide and is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE:   RHI). Founded in 1948,
Robert Half International is a member of the S&P 500 index.

    Protiviti is not licensed or registered as a public accounting firm and
does not issue opinions on financial statements or offer attestation services.


For further information:

For further information: Kathy Keller of Protiviti, +1-650-234-6252,
kathy.keller@protiviti.com Web Site: http://www.protiviti.com

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