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Finance teams are (finally) tackling reporting, ERP challenges and data inaccuracy, but how?



The financial reporting and analysis world is changing. Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) professionals are embracing new technology and automation tools that make financial processes faster and more efficient.


One of the most important goals of finance leaders is channeling resources to more productive financial functions. Additionally, executive leaders need access to timely, real-time, and accurate financial reports and analyses that give them insightful information to make strategic decisions.


Financial Reporting Bottlenecks


For every financial reporting and accounting professional, the biggest pain points center around the manual processes of exporting data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools and software. Reporting spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel have been instrumental in financial reporting. Importing data correctly into Excel for financial reporting and analysis is crucial to making critical financial decisions.


Manual data interventions, ineffective reporting software, and data inaccuracies have limited financial reporting functions and processes for FP&A professionals.


Manual Reporting Processes: Manual financial reporting processes are time-consuming and remove resources from more meaningful finance functions such as insightful analysis and strategic decision-making.


Poor ERP Interface: Finance leaders expend resources to ensure their teams have effective software that integrates seamlessly with spreadsheets and other reporting tools. Poor ERP interface limits effective data connections, data exports, and reporting.


Data Inaccuracy: Generally, inaccurate data stems from manual data exports and other manual reporting functions. Exporting hard-coded data separately in Excel and moving data around for financial analysis can distort the original data and lead to inaccurate financial reports.


Automation and Efficiency in Financial Reporting


There is a dynamic shift from the old way of doing things to better streamlined and automated finance and accounting processes. CONNECT by Datarails, a much-hyped new software, supports financial reporting professionals and promotes effective accounting processes. Here’s how financial reporting is improving.


Automated and Dynamic Reports: The ability to create automated reports using spreadsheet software, such as Excel, transforms the process of creating financial reports. With advanced technology financial analysts, accountants, and finance managers can prepare dynamic reports that cut across departments, product types, regions, and customers.


Seamless ERP Interface: An effective ERP interface is crucial for accurate financial reporting. Finance departments across invoicing, inventory, sales and revenue, accounts receivable, and accounts payable input data daily into the sub-ledger and general ledger using organization-wide ERPs. Software promotes seamless ERP connections and interactions allows finance professionals to pull valuable data to prepare financial reports, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.


Streamlined Processes: The finance and accounting function relies on timely reporting for month-end, quarter-end and annual deliverables. Executive management depends on finance professionals to provide timely reports and analysis. Improved financial software ensures reporting processes are streamlined, eliminating time-wasting steps for data pulls and exports.


Real-time analysis: With artificial intelligence in financial reporting, real-time analysis allows finance executives, managers, and analysts to access updated information. Finance professionals can drill down reports and have detailed visibility on financial performance metrics with such finance software.


Customized reports: Finance professionals create customized reports using Excel to review financial performance by region, period, and department. For example, finance managers may need to prepare a financial summary report showing revenue by month or carry out a year-over-year operating profit variance analysis. Software provides a seamless platform to create customized financial reports that aid strategic decision-making.


Data consolidation: When preparing the balance sheet, consolidating and grouping financial data into current assets, current liabilities, and shareholders' equity is essential for showing the accurate financial representation of an organization. Likewise, preparing the profit and loss statement requires accurate data consolidation on revenue, cost of goods sold, other income, general and administrative expenses, and taxes. New software improves financial reporting through advanced data consolidation and reporting capabilities that allow for accurate financial reporting.


Budgeting


Businesses are also improving their budgeting process with software such as CONNECT by Datarails and its Excel Add-In. Consolidate prior year data into reports and budget future years' revenue, costs, and profits. Effective budgeting allows organizations to allocate resources efficiently and increase profit maximization.


Forecasting and Financial Analysis

 

Software also makes forecasting less time-consuming and allows for more accurate financial forecasts. By drilling into real-time data, FP&A professionals can conduct more accurate financial analyses and make better financial forecasts.


Overall finance professionals are benefiting from the dynamic and automated reporting attributes of technology to prepare accurate financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. This has become a one-stop solution that provides a real-time connection between Excel spreadsheets and an organization’s ERP, allowing for a seamless financial reporting process. 


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