Group Finance faces many challenges in the modern industrial era. To become the best in class and stay competitive information needs to be real-time and accurate. In addition, the value of data is now being truly realised in many organisations and to make the most of this business asset finance must develop capabilities that adopt a unified platform for planning and reporting and integrate systems across the entire organisation to provide a cost-effective, one set of tools to manage the business, report its results and leverage its data.
Finance departments work across many processes, from the daily operational reconciliation tasks through to monthly management reporting and year-end statutory reporting and all its related disclosure and regulatory requirements. Increasingly, finance is also being called on to create a strategy and drive process improvements across the entire organisation.
The Challenge for Finance
One of the big challenges for organisations is fragmented systems and business processes. Fragmentation makes it difficult to extract crucial business information in a timely manner and increases workload because a multitude of processes are managed by different tools and technologies with different professionals looking after specific individual areas. Tasks are siloed, separate and bear no commonality – single experts manage their own areas with no common capability across the organisation. The biggest challenge for finance is managing the increasing requirement for businesses to produce both financial and operational information and present it as a consolidated view to the executives, the board and even external stakeholders in real-time reports and KPIs.
Key issues are:
- Often Excel is rife
- Processes are disjointed, divergent and prone to inaccuracy
- Different technologies exist across the organisation
- Limited automation – often data is managed in excel and pasted into Powerpoint for board reports – very manual, low value add
- Not much ability to analyse and support business thinking
The modern solution to an old problem
The best practice is to adopt a unified platform for planning and reporting and integrate systems and data across the entire organisation. A survey by Dun & Bradstreet found that 58% of respondents said system integration was a top element, and the second most important, to successful business automation.
An integrated approach allows effective planning, reporting and analysis across traditional department boundaries to manage the full life cycle of business decision-making. Collaboration is vital for better business performance and growth and having one set of tools to manage processes and report all information in one place with merged financial and operational information makes planning easy.
By reducing the number of systems the organisation can also reduce the number of skilled or experienced employees required for different systems and hence become more cost effective.
With one single repository for all information the business is more efficient with less opportunity for duplication and data errors. Data protection and governance is enhanced and as information output is more consistent it is easier to control and align different regulatory and compliance requirements across jurisdictions.
Improved user trust in the information output and business data allows finance to develop capability and expertise across the group to facilitate further value-added activities. Essentially, businesses that succeed at unifying their data, processes and systems are better able to plan, budget, forecast, and supply products or services.
Most finance teams know that adopting a unified approach and integrated systems and data across the entire organisation is a priority to achieve business improvement. Businesses should choose a strategy that is the most effective use of their time and budget available. If you would like further information and the process steps to bring a unified approach to your organisation book a free 2 hrs consulting workshop.
AIS can help you determine where your finance systems can add more value and be your implementation and support partner.
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