Human error

How financial companies can avoid human error

Many industries are dependent on strong document management practices, but few rely more heavily on them than the financial sector. Seemingly small mistakes on financial documents can quickly lead to massive losses. In fact, Financial Times recently reported that financial giant JPMorgan suffered billions of dollars in losses last year, caused at least partially by “avoidable errors on Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets.”

Although JPMorgan’s case may be extreme, the news makes it clear that companies in the financial industry need to ensure that their document lifecycle management is up to the task. A slip of the lip can sink a ship, as the saying goes, but a single entry error can sometimes have even more drastic consequences.

The cost of errors

Businesses in the finance field transfer vast sums of money many times a day. Although improved technology has made this process simpler than ever, it has also made it more precarious. A lost document or data entry error can prove calamitous despite the fact that it can occur so easily.

What can companies do to avoid these errors? One answer is to automate the process as much as possible. Financial documents come in all shapes, sizes and file types, so it is easy for human error to cause problems. Employees working their way through a stack of documents are prone to brief mental lapses. In many industries this isn’t a serious problem, but when thousands, millions or, in the case of JPMorgan, billions of dollars are on the line, avoidable human error is a scourge that companies cannot afford to ignore.

The perks of automation

Knowing this, many companies are turning to document workflow automation software. Instead of relying on employees to comb through documents and file them in the right place at the right time, this software allows businesses to rest easy knowing that the hundreds of documents streaming through their facilities are being properly filed, processed and organized.

Exert control

The case of JPMorgan and similar companies makes it clear that your company can’t afford to sit on its hands. The longer you go without putting proper controls in place to reduce human error, the more likely you are to be sunk by an avoidable error. A recent report from Vision Critical revealed that “more than half of financial services groups in the UK have poorly applied or no controls for managing business-critical spreadsheets,” according to InfoSecurity.