After many implementations of new accounting systems, CFOs are often surprised that their lives haven’t changed that much despite the expense and upheaval of the project. Although the new system brings processing efficiencies, it brings less in the way of benefits for business insights. CFOs are still struggling to get meaningful reports out of their system. Their staff still spends a whole lot of time in spreadsheets.
The problem is that the finance system is not flexible enough to be used as a business tool. The chart of accounts is too big and inflexible. The finance system is the end financial effect, resulting from transactions occurring downstream in operational systems such as customer, billing and web store systems.
In other words there is little business insight held in the summarised financial data that you find in most accounting systems.
The real issue with this is that cost savings and opportunities are missed. You have little insight into the profitability drivers in your business and little understanding of how your current behaviour is holding back growth.
The real desire of the CFO is for effective joined up reporting of financial and non-financial data. They need the ability to get support for decision making and insights into business performance.
So if you’re a CFO facing this scenario, how are we going to help you solve this?” There are two key steps to the process. However, before we even start, we need to recognise that business data is held in different and multiple data sources. This causes a problem because it is not joined up and there are multiple reporting products in the business.
The first step then is to bring the relevant data together from their individual databases and combine where appropriate. By relevant data, this means we don’t bring all data in, only the data that is needed for the business problem. Having done that, it’s now possible to report under a single, highly flexible reporting platform. You now have access to all relevant business data in one source.
The next step is to consider the need for creating and editing data. Created data is meaningful in that it provides targets, performance analysis and a real basis for understanding business performance. Without created data, we only have historical data and trends to rely on.
Being able to add and edit data enables us to forecast and update as soon as new information becomes available. It allows us to model scenarios enabling the effects of a change in a downstream parameter, such as the effect of losing a key customer, to be measured and assessed as to the consequences to cash flow and profits.
CFOs know that their business performance is affected by a handful of key drivers. By understanding how changes in these affect your margins, your profits and your cash flow, you can identify risks and become proactive.
The CFO now becomes a key strategic partner to the business and not a bean counter as they are commonly viewed.
It is our experience that a solution such as this can be much more targeted with a much lower impact to your organisational resources compared to a rip and replace new system. This can bring huge returns on your investment as we bring to the surface the rich store of data held in your systems.
We have examples from our clients where reporting and capabilities that were once a pipedream and took so much time and resource to complete, are now being produced at the press of a button.
The real difference today with Professional Advantage is that to get these results would have required a long term project and would tie up resources in your organisation for months. It is because the products we use are much simpler to use and our methods of getting value are getting the quickest and best wins early.
It is our experience that, once our clients experience this for themselves, they go on to expand the tools in their business.
Investigate how Professional Advantage solves your reporting challenges.
You can download our whitepaper, Business Intelligence: What is it? Why do you need it?