Deal or no deal, don’t forget your data

Data firm warns “don’t get left behind” as survey results reveal 80% of workers don’t trust their data systems to cope with the uncertainty of Brexit.

Data software company Azquo is urging businesses to look at the systems they use for financial planning and analysis ahead of the New Year to prevent any issues from the fallout of Brexit.

“2021 is going to be a tough year for businesses,” said Ed Lennox, operations director at Azquo.

“With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and now Brexit to deal with, if your data systems aren’t up to scratch, it will make your job even trickier.

“As companies try and navigate new financial plans when processes have to change, the risk of human error inevitably increases and typical data systems can’t recognise when that happens.”

Described as a ‘game-changer’ in the world of data, Midlands-based Azquo is a data system which stores, manages, processes and integrates data differently – making data available in a far more transparent and transformatively-fast way.

“It not only makes reporting a lot easier, faster and more effective for businesses but most importantly, more accurate – meaning no firm should ever find a mistake in any management information,” Ed added.

“The beauty of the system is that it can integrate with all existing software, meaning no stressful data change-overs or disruptions to service.”

The warning comes after numerous companies have fallen victim to their own poor data handling in recent years.

The most recent high-profile data crisis was the UK Government’s Test & Trace system, which was blamed on Public Health England’s use of an outdated Excel spreadsheet that was only able to record 65,000 lines of data.

The team at Azquo tried to offer advice to the Government with its Covid modelling practices at the start of the pandemic, believing they could help, but “too many layers of bureaucracy got in the way.”

Ed said if Azquo had been used to record the results, it would have been impossible for the error, which led to almost 16,000 positive tests being left off the official figures, to occur.

“We weren’t surprised in the slightest when we heard the news,” he said. We’ve heard similar scenarios a hundred times.

“Azquo would have prevented all of the issues from occurring.”

He says the same is true for Bargain Booze and Wine Rack owner Conviviality, which went bust in 2018 after a financial forecast spreadsheet error led to it missing a £30m tax bill, and clothing brand Joules, which found itself in a sticky situation when a stock accounting spreadsheet error led to too much stock being sent to stores last Christmas, and not enough being available online, leading to a £6m sales shortfall.

The most famous – and costly – Excel spreadsheet error of all time happened when JP Morgan seriously underestimated the downside of its synthetic credit portfolio, which ultimately led to the bank to declare $6 billion in losses and could lead to another $600 million in fines.

“Again, we believe that Azquo would have picked the JP Morgan error up, because of the way it can so easily highlight data that has changed – or not – within a selectable timeframe,” said Ed.

“People shouldn’t be asking whether or not they can afford to have Azquo in their business, given the high-profile data errors that have happened over the past few years, they should really be asking themselves if they can afford not to have it.”