The Evolution of Financial Reporting – a (10, 20, 50) Year View

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Financial reporting is the universal language of business and finances, which is applicable whether in Japan or South Africa. And can be used not only in big corporations but also in churches too. Or just about anywhere that would require some form of book keeping in regards to financial reporting.  

With the primary objective of reporting being to reveal what’s going on in the business at any given time. This evolution is now essential to meet the fast pace of today’s corporate landscape with financial reports that are accessible to multiple teams helping to engender collaboration. 

Cross-departmental dialogue allows finance to work strategically with colleagues across the business in order to facilitate better decision-making. 

The traditional ‘row and column’ financial data reporting from back in the day has been taken to a new level, whether by adding context to CPM software systems. While spreadsheets have traditionally been used for reporting, they can be both cumbersome and prone to costly errors. CPM software marks a change in approach. 

As it allows key stakeholders to access the latest view of business performance against internal budget and competitors, as well as the big picture of a company’s financial health. The accuracy of this, however, is largely dependent on data quality.  

Extremely complex processes, such as Consolidation, Budgeting and Forecasting, are not best supported by spreadsheets with high probability for errors. Rather, best practice sees data held in a single repository that incorporates powerful analytical tools as well as controls to ensure validity, security and quality. 

The benefits are clear. A combined approach to critical business data, not just financial information, provides a wider context through detailed budget comparisons and future forecasting that combines data from all key departments. Under this model, the reporting process includes forward-looking indicators including sales pipelines, competitor analysis, product launches and customer satisfaction levels. 

 

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