Too often, enterprises are overwhelmed with data, yet lack meaningful information.
Substantial information insights should support both an enterprise strategy and performance measurement, but in order to do so it must first be vetted for measurability, purpose and accountability.
This is where reporting comes into play!
Today, finance departments are shifting away from a stewardship-type role. Now, they are more involved at a strategic level and are increasingly influential in other areas of the business – which includes making sure specific goals are being met in other departments and driving insights for business decisions.
It seems now, more than ever, finance organizations must align and track business plans in accordance with a variety of business drivers. Finance teams have become a driving force in the planning and performance of many organizations. Along with an increasingly prominent role comes greater complexity, and finance groups are rapidly evolving to accommodate additional responsibilities. At any given time, CFOs should be able to access a comprehensive view of earned value via an enterprise wide portfolio and project execution data.
Consistent and accurate reporting of operational and financial data comes from acquiring, refining, enhancing and integrating data into one environment.
How do companies improve the selection, delivery, and benefits realization of specific programs? By leveraging advanced analytics to make better decisions by utilizing comprehensive reporting and analytics tools that make up a holistic ecosystem for finance operations.
Keep in mind, reporting is only as accurate as the underlying data in the system. To reduce data errors and duplication, enterprises must optimize an integrated technology environment where entries can only be posted once from a single source - establishing enormous productivity gains. By continuously monitoring processes and outcomes, an organization can maximize Return on Investment (ROI) to prioritize spending, budgetary allocations, and investment options. Additionally, organizations can align resources with company priorities so that the right initiatives are funded and managed in alignment with the goals of the organization.
Finance operations that are lean, flexible and capable of supporting the changing business environment are also operations proficient at reporting.
There are four essential components to an efficient reporting practice for finance operations.
- Dashboards & Data Visualization: Ensure timely and accurate access to key data to inform decision-making and action, and to derive critical insights by developing and deploying reporting and analytics capabilities. Assess and implement collaborative processes, supported with optimal technology and reporting/analytics for achieving excellence within planning processes. Enable organizations to identify areas of risk and/or improvement, understand factors influencing business and support planning process.
- Metrics Reporting (KPI): Define the project and portfolio level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), project and reporting requirements. Develop standard project and portfolio reports and reporting processes, and identify data requirements for portfolio analytics.
- Tracking & Reporting: Define the information and system architecture and lifecycle information management approach to ensure information is captured, categorized, enriched and accessible to the business development teams. Integrate knowledge management and collaboration systems and processes to drive selection, funding and prioritization, management and reporting across the project/initiative portfolio.
- Predictive Modeling: Develop use cases and methods for predictive analytics to predict trends (leading indicators,) simulate changes to business operations and build business plans. Develop plan behind modeling and align with overall strategies, integrate with planning and analysis functions. Automate data acquisition and implement tools and supporting business processes.
Recent trends across industries point to a changing, growing role of the CFO Office and related finance departments. The expectation of assuming a more prominent role in defining a company’s overall strategy has increased the value and complexity of finance teams. Helping finance departments along the way, and increasing their operational performance, is comprehensive reporting delivering the advanced analytics necessary to make great enterprises sustainable market leaders.