ClusterSeven helps businesses adopt VAT change

25 November 2008

ClusterSeven, an international provider of spreadsheet management solutions that enhance risk management, compliance and profitability for financial institutions and Fortune 500 financial reporting divisions, today announced a solution for finance departments concerned that embedded value added tax (VAT) values of 17.5 percent in spreadsheets may frustrate a smooth transfer to reporting under the new VAT rate.

After weeks of speculation, the Chancellor has confirmed that UK VAT rates will be reduced as part of an overall fiscal stimulus. One hidden part of the additional economic activity will be the armies of accountants reviewing their financial systems to ensure a smooth transfer to the new VAT rate. For most central applications this may be a simple conversion. However, for the many spreadsheets involved in supplementary financial planning and reporting the challenge will be considerably greater - how many cells or macros will hold hard-coded values of 17.5 percent? All of these need to be located and amended.

ClusterSeven's solution uses one dimension of its logic-checking product 'Spreadsheet Integrity' whereby user-specific searches of spreadsheet content can be performed at speed from central servers. This avoids running or loading software on the desktop, providing a much more efficient and complete solution than individual manual queries. For users who don't want to install any software on site ClusterSeven will run the software over your spreadsheets at its headquarters.

"You could check each spreadsheet individually, cell by cell for each permutation of 0.175, 17.5 and 1.175 but you would be reliant on user diligence being maintained all the way through to the millionth cell of the hundredth workbook and you would still be unsure whether there was a problem in the associated VBA or macro code," said Ralph Baxter, CEO of ClusterSeven. "We provide a simple report on where the problems are. Once they are fixed, a second report can give you a clean bill of health."

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