Effective financial reporting empowers companies to operate flexibly, strategically, and confidently. More commonly, however, reporting is a cumbersome process with minimal benefits. Despite spending ample time and resources pouring through data, companies learn little to propel themselves forward.
The specific pain points that limit the potential of financial reporting are unique to every organization, but they can all be traced to common problems. By focusing on those, it's possible for any company to transform reporting into a true asset. Follow these four strategies to learn more in less time:
Leverage the Benefits of the Cloud
Accessibility is often a major obstacle in reporting. Stakeholders at various levels must be able to quickly and easily draw on disparate data sets to produce insightful reports. When access is limited, the consequence is either slow or shallow reporting. Relying on data and applications native to the cloud minimizes data silos and eliminates problems of distance. Everyone has access to everything all the time. As a result, reporting is less about tracking down data and more about putting it to best use.
Reporting tools are frequently too complicated for anyone except seasoned accountants or too technical for anyone except IT experts. That leads to unavoidable inefficiencies because of work that is duplicated, delayed, or deficient. Rather than making reporting possible for only a select few, put the tools in the hands of stakeholders throughout departments and management levels. When it's possible for more users to organize and analyze financial data, more decisions have a positive impact on the bottom line.
Create a Central Portal for Information
Effective reporting depends on having access to complete, accurate, and up-to-date information. Without that, reporting is dubious at best and wildly misinformed at worst. Having a central portal through which all users access all information creates a single source of truth. There is never any uncertainty that the information going into reports is as authoritative as possible. Reporting is more instructive and insightful as a result, and also a lot easier to manage.
Train the Focus Forward
Too often the reporting process is focused on the past. Decision makers learn what happened but still have to make guesses and predictions about what will happen. Effective reporting includes both elements – a comprehensive analysis of the past that leads to informed and empirical forecasts about the future. Reporting is a significant strategic asset, but only when decision makers treat it as such. That means having tools to locate deeper insights from deeper sets of data.
Remember that improving reporting is about achieving two objectives. The first is making reporting faster and easier, especially as speeds and scales climb upwards. The second is turning reporting into an advantage rather than an obligation.As you search for tools that address both issues, consider the capabilities of Adaptive Insights. It's a next-generation reporting solution that translates tomorrow's priorities for today's decision makers. Before you ramp up reporting again, consult with the team at AcctTwo.