Compassoft titsup? seems to have stopped working. We’ve been hearing rumours of their (imminent) demise since Eusprig in July.

For those who don’t know Compassoft (too many of you obviously!) they bought Exchecker from Spreadsheet auditing a few years ago. And DaCCs from Wimmer systems and a few other boutique application developers. (I have dreamed for years of getting that word in here one day)

Exchecker was/is a highly regarded spreadsheet auditing tool. Written in Delphi and running directly on the .xl* file, it didn’t need or use Excel. Exchecker was especially good at network scanning as cutting out Excel and COM automation made it fast, and more stable than Excel/VBA.

If anyone knows where I can get the Exchecker source code cheapie cheap I’d be happy to take over that bit. Although I can well imagine it resurfacing under Spreadsheet Auditing ( again.

I’d say the loss is a bit of a blow to the spreadsheet quality world, certainly in terms of confidence in it being a viable sustainable business niche.

Eusprig has been going for years now and has got the message out loud and clear ‘spreadsheets have dangers’. But if the commercial vendors who follow with solutions are not sustainable then we are not much further forward are we?

What do you think?

Got any more info?




32 Responses to “Compassoft titsup?”

  1. Patrick O'Beirne Says:

    The bad news:

    the good news:

  2. Simon Says:

    Thanks Patrick
    I wasn’t that far off with the name eh?
    And its the same bloody picture!

  3. Byron Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Not a bad guess at all, and the “same picture” was of course by design!

    There’s definitely a transition period at the moment, with a complete re-engineering in the pipeline.

    And I know you’ll cringe but it incorporates Ribbon functionality…I’ll send you some screenshots sometime to whet your appetite.

  4. Simon Says:

    Hi Byron
    glad to hear things are working out.
    I don’t mind the ribbon, its command shuffling I can’t abide.
    Yeah let me know when I can download a review copy, I’ve just seen the perfect job (see job of the week post) for ExChecker (will there be a name change?)

  5. Anthony Berglas Says:

    Consider the Spreadsheet Detective. Integrated with Excel. Established company since 1997.

    (Exchecker actually coppied both their shading feature and the sales example from Detective.)


  6. Byron Says:


    Will there be a name change? Probably.

    I’m thinking of calling it Spreadsheet Detective II.

    Only kidding of course Anthony! Take a deep breath ;-)

  7. rb Says:

    It is now confirmed that Finsbury Solutions will be buying some (all?) of the Compassoft IP. Interesting to see how they cope with such a wide range of technology (Delphi, VB, Java) when added to their existing technology. Clearly Compassoft found it difficult to persuade clients to accept such a mix.

  8. Simon Says:

    thanks for that rb.
    He offered to get me round to look at their system after the last ODAC, I’m still waiting for the call. March maybe?
    I wonder how much they are paying…

    Byron I hope they bring you back to blighty to work on it, you’re having too much fun in Oz.. Its 3 degrees here, windy and raining.

  9. Tony Says:

    Im ex Compassoft and can confirm that the Enterprise solution was not that good being riddled with issues – a good idea poorly executed with very few clients.

    We did have high regard for Ex Chequer but called it Compassoft Professional just to confuse the idea. The DACS product was far to old and a VBA nightmare. I wish Finsbury well but can only assume they have bought the old business to get a client list otherwise they will get a real surprise. The demos were always good but we had no real references.

  10. Simon Says:

    I assumed they would be after the source code. But like rb says each component was written in a different environment/language.

  11. Tony Says:

    I should also add that the Enterprise product could not build a large Inventory without lots of issues – it failed to recognise versions of excel almost ignored Access and would stop often hundreds of times during a build. All could be solved but the clients were paying for this. The collection was clever but flawed and its throttle capability was not that detailed. Unless you use these tools you thing the marketing is ok – I worked at Compassoft and would never have soiled a relationship with a client with the garbage tools they had.

  12. Tony Says:

    I cant see what the code of a failed firm would be worth and it was not executed in Java or .NET and hence parts were very old. In all its a sad story as Compassoft did have some excellent sales people and I suspect even a few of our technical team were ok. The management however were like fish in a keep net unwilling to listen or build relationships in the market whilst we claimed leadership. Ex Chequer was the only prodcut that we had that worked on the pc as such. The firesale offered the assets at a very chep level and hence may be seen as a bargain but let the buyer beware.

  13. Tony Says:

    No doubt the directors of this failed business will move on to new companies claiming this work was a success. The American lady who ran this company into the ground deserves to never place again , of course I would never mention her name. Acting as if you are Microsoft when you are bleeding to death is not great for the other staff who want to work.

  14. Tony Says:

    Key People just in case they do not own up to what they have done here

    [snipped by request]

    [List here

  15. Simon Says:

    I’ve got clients now trying to get ExChecker licences.
    It’s the joy of the veil of incorporation that blunderons can keep blundering on. Search this blog for synergi to read of a management team to match the one you describe.

  16. Tony Says:

    I was trying to be polite as well. Ex chequer was a good product although wasteful in the way it takes a copy of the spreadsheet to the audit directory. This is a good apprioach if you have 5 sheets but not 5000 as disc space can be at a premium in a large company. Also has the latest release been made to work with all releases of Excel including the web based product – I suspect prodiance lead here or even Cluster Severn. I had a laugh when I realised some of the old compassoft managers have gone on to be change around consultants – It is like letting Elvis work at MCD’s.

  17. Ethical blogging « Smurf on Spreadsheets Says:

    […] […]

  18. Tony Says:

    sorry did not mean to break any rules

  19. Simon Says:

    I don’t think you did really Tony, don’t worry about it.

  20. Derek Wimmer Says:

    Tony, if you’re going to say nasty things about the work people did you should identify yourself better and perhaps give a little bio. I don’t remember a “Tony”. Were you in the UK sales office?

    Simon, have you checked out this “Tony” to verify he actually worked at Compassoft?

  21. Patrick O'Beirne Says:

    Source: Finsbury Solutions, 03 February 2009
    Finsbury Solutions acquires Compassoft
    Finsbury Solutions, a leading supplier of spreadsheet management and control software, today announced it has acquired the products and assets of Compassoft Inc, a US based governance risk and compliance software vendor.
    Finsbury is committed to supporting and developing Compassoft’s EUC products. It will combine and integrate Compassoft’s EUC software with its Spreadsheet Workbench solution to offer an advanced product suite for the management of spreadsheets and end user databases.

  22. Tony Says:

    I was US based and have not said anything nasty about anyone – i even complemented the technical staff and sales team.

  23. Tony Says:

    and a loss of over £14M when its not the companies money shows just how poor “our work” was. Ask leap frog if they would reinvest.

  24. ABC Says:

    I’d take “Tony”‘s comments with a big heap of salt. Most of what he says doesn’t add up from an insider’s perspective. He can’t even get the name EXChecker right, and the “American Woman” was succesfully selling and implementing in the UK, not “running the company”, into the ground or otherwise. “Tony” has a poor understanding of the product innerworkings as well, from his posts. Finally, his last post about Leap Frog demonstraes he really didn’t understand the details of how the company went out of business. The Compassoft products were good products, technology mishmash notwithstanding, and the company was closing some big deals – and there were plenty of good people there (not everyone of course). It’s a shame that the investment structure unravelled.

  25. Derek Wimmer Says:

    Agreed, ABC.

  26. Tony Says:

    Really big deals and out of business – maybe this is why we failed. As for references I can only think that Freddie Mac used the Enterprise product and even that was replaced by Prodiance. I know some sales happened in the EMEA region but the company failed pure and simple. I am assuming Derek and ABC are the same person – if I am so wrong please name 5 Enterprise Clients who were referenes in the world ! Not small DACS or Compassoft Professional which was the name and not EX-Chequer as you state. This was an old name from the previous owner – Compassoft re branded it.

  27. Tony Says:

    and i do agree Compassoft had some good people – I would never say they did not but also to claim leadership when you are on the edge is not a smart thing to do. We still lost lots of cash as the burn rate was way to high for a start up

  28. ABC Says:

    Again, Tony, you demonstrate a lack of understanding about specifics – the customers, the products, the timing and details of the financial unravelling…. it goes on. There were a number of Enterprise customers added in early ’08 and the results were quite positive to the new releases that were coming out. It would be wholly unprofessional to name them publicly as Compassoft was never given permission to do so. Most companies don’t like to talk about their problems with spreadsheets – you don’t see Prodiance, Cimcon, or C7 naming customers either…

  29. ABC Says:

    And no, I am not Derek Wimmer. He can speak just fine for himself.

  30. Simon Says:

    OK I think we can draw a line under this now.
    Compassoft is no more – there will always be disagreements about the how and the why and the who.

  31. Tony Says:

    I agree – dead ducks dont fly so I am happy to leave this nonsense

  32. Chris Says:

    Hi All

    Not sure if this is still active ? – I worked for Compassoft in the Uk for 7 weeks and looking at the above comments I sort of agree with both sides.

    The company was clearly in a difficult growing phase – Contracts were being won and the UK had a good sales manager however it is also fair to say that the company had burned a lot of cash but as I was only a consultant I did not see the Finances. I do remember 2 or 3 very big deals in the EMEA region closing – mostly Insurance companies in the UK and EIRE. As always the management team were taking luxury elements but then again they were the owners of the company so that’s fair and to be expected.

    Was no the best work atmosphere I have worked in – Often I would go into the office and unlock the door – no one else would show up till late in the day ! – sort of told me the real reason the company would fail however the products were not bad – Exchequer was good , I never used DACS so cant comment on it ( Was a VBA product on Excel I think ) and the full enterprise product was good

    I do not remember a TONY being involved although might have been on the sales side before or after I left or indeed a competitor posting.

    When I was made redundant the company did it on US papers which was both illegal and in correct in the UK market – I never took it any further as I was keen to leave – all in all the worst 7 weeks of my working life I guess – glad I have moved on and I have no malice towards any ex employees

    All a long time ago the world of risk has moved on

    This posting probably is on an old blog I guess – not looked for Compassoft in a long time

    Also I have worked with both Trintech & Cluster 7 so have a balanced view on GRC.

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