Using data to drive efficiencies, save costs and generate growth has become an integral part of the role of today’s CFO. However, with more data available to businesses than ever before, finding the most valuable insights to achieve strong, data-driven growth is rarely quick or easy.

CFOs face a plethora of challenges when harnessing financial data. Using software automation can build a better data culture within finance teams and drive growth, minimize risk, and identify new opportunities.

The Five Hurdles of Financial Reporting

It may sound like a bold warning but the impact of inefficient and complex financial data processes on IT staff is real. When looking at the IT department’s pain points in financial reporting, most teams face five key hurdles.

Hurdle one: The raw data

It all starts with the data, of course, stored in ERP systems, accounting and finance software, and for almost every organization, a lot of Excel spreadsheets. Connecting that many systems and accessing the necessary data stored therein is a major challenge.

Hurdle two: Complexity and mismatches

There are so many layers of complexity in financial reporting, including currencies, countries, and differing terminology/semantics. In terms of mismatches, it’s fair to say that integrating, consolidating, and understanding the relationships between data and databases is a job in itself.

Hurdle three: Timings and adjustments

Despite continued investment in ERP, accounting, and finance systems, the Companies House in the UK still says there’s been a 10 percent increase in late account submissions in recent years. Reporting on deadline is a struggle that continues to increase, but adjustments, reviews, and redrafts remain a lengthy, manual, and labor-intensive task.

Hurdle four: Error correction

Detecting and correcting errors in financial reports is the next major hurdle and can also be quantified. One example from the UK involves 176,000 companies that were fined for errors in their financial reporting (again, according to Companies House), with the total fines amounting to £89 million ($117 million).

Hurdle five: Security

Above all these hurdles, there’s the overarching work in security and data governance that’s a vital part of every organization. Compliance to GDPR and numerous financial and auditing standards all need to be considered, another manual task that has traditionally been very time-consuming.

Automation Software to the Rescue

While there’s never going to be a magic wand solution, software automation of business-critical, time-consuming aspects of financial reporting is emerging and is well worth a discussion for both IT and CXO offices. There are four key ways that automating data management with software can relieve the data headaches that surround financial reporting.

  1. Being able to automate data integration is a major step forward. Software can consolidate all your data automatically, so nothing is missed. As a result, tasks that might have taken your finance team weeks or months can be turned into just a few quick clicks.
  2. For reporting, itself, it’s possible to put software in place that can deliver a central, consolidated “data hub” from which efficient and accurate analysis can be pulled at any given time.
  3. Automation software allows data modeling to become a fast, intuitive process. Certain variants of data management software will come with a user interface that makes it easy to prepare complex financial data for reporting at the user- and IT-level, without the need for technical experts.
  4. Finally, automation increases security and governance. If all data management is automated, organizations then have an overarching system in place that will control, audit, and log all activity from password and access control to reconfiguring mismatched data.

Stress-Free Financial Reporting

With data management automation software, CFOs and IT teams get faster reporting without the data headaches. By removing the hindrances of accessing legacy systems while still able to access legacy data, they also become better able to manage their data overall. Navigating through periods of growth and downturns is less obstructed by data trapped in silos. Instead, organizations have increased confidence in the financial intelligence readily available, regardless of whether it’s in the cloud, on-premises, or a combination of both.

Utilizing software automation solutions which improve the accessibility and manageability of data across the financial arm of a business enables CFOs to identify trends and issues before they make an impact, rather than after. It also improves processes and drives efficiencies. With fast reporting, you can get ahead of the curve and anticipate the next question before it’s even asked.

Whether your company is large or small, experienced in reporting automation or trying it for the first time, Accounting Systems, Inc. can help you get the right solutions in place for success. With proven business strategies to accompany the software solutions we offer, ASI is the partner you need. Contact us todayto see how our business management software can help you grow.