Some years back, a colleague in another organization came to me for help. In this international organization and U.S. public company, the finance department was unable to close its quarterly financial books in time to meet a S.E.C. filing deadline.
It had missed the deadline for several days, and the matter had reached the CEO and the boardroom as an uproar.
The cause: an overseas subsidiary was unable to close its books. The reason: one of the steps to the overseas subsidiary’s completing its month and quarter-end financials was a procedure wherein a financial report was downloaded to a PC’s spreadsheet program, where a spreadsheet macro would perform some calculations that would be used in the subsidiary’s financial results.
This time, there was a problem: the macro had become corrupted and would not run.
There were no backups. A contractor had created the macro and was nowhere to be found. No one in the finance department knew what the macro did or how it worked. It was an undocumented step in this critical business process; the original software was gone, and none of this was documented.
Be certain to avoid having this kind of a scenario occurring in your organization.