How to Survive Your Annual Reporting Meltdown

As the role of the CFO continues to morph toward what many think of as a Chief Strategy Officer, greater demands are placed on the rest of the Office of Finance. No one team is being asked to do even more with less than the Controllership. Controllers across the country are being forced to struggle with the age-old paradigm of Headcount versus Technology. Not that they weren’t already knee deep in this dilemma, now it seems they own it.

But there’s one area within the Office of Finance that still seems to lack an adequate technology focus: the reporting team. And unfortunately, those are the people providing Senior Executives with the insights they need to be able to make better decisions faster. Teams focused on providing monthly operational reports to the senior team, often still do so via PowerPoint and Excel. Strange when considering companies spend millions of dollars on Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) tools which are built on Multi-Dimensional Data Structures.

Using Excel’s rows, columns and sheets can’t possibly be the best way to represent fundamental financial data for the C-level suite…Right?

Agility

Which brings us to October 2018. Yes, another budget season is upon us. You are again being asked to do more with less in 2019. And then there is this new watchword in the Enterprise: ‘agility’. Once thought to be owned by engineering teams, ‘Agile’ is now in  every part of modern age companies. And with good reason, if you’re serious about competing in today’s markets, you better be able to switch gears on the fly and make quick, high quality, decisions based upon current performance data. Do read our whitepapaer on Agile Reporting for that matter!

Reporting options

So if EPM tools have “so-so” dashboards and reporting suites and Controllership teams are using Excel, what other reporting options are there to provide critical information to the senior team to empower fast decision-making?

While very interesting to look at, many Business Intelligence software providers will attempt to convince you that taking your multi-dimensional data out of your EPM system(s) and cramming it into their 2-dimensional tool, is a path to success. But let me paint a mental picture for you, have you ever attempted to take a Phillips head screw driver and tighten a screw with a flat head top? Here you are with this pointy, 4-pronged, (Multi-Dimensional tool) attempting to force a single slotted (2-Dimensional) screw head to turn. Not terribly effective and definitely not efficient!

What your exquisite multi-dimensional data needs, is a multi-dimensional dashboard and reporting tool to envision data in a way that is infinitely useable to even the least tech-savvy among us. Preferably it links directly to the EPM source(s) and inherits the metadata such as the hierarchies and definitions. The direct connection ensures a complete view as well as an up to date single version of the truth and actionable insights.

Selecting the right tool

Changing the Reporting Paradigm within your organization is all about selecting the right tool for the job. What if you could minimize the repetitive, non-value-added work extracting the data, that would save time? What if you could get rid of error prone approaches to one of the most important aspects of your Close, that would minimize risk?

If you could give your executives what they need to make high quality, fast, data-driven decisions, you could become the thrust behind driving agility in the Office of Finance!

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