How to Remove the Month-End Headache with Automated Financial Reporting
Tiffany Newkirk, Financial Solutions Manager at SplashBI, explains why month-end reporting shouldn’t be such a manual and static process. The process should be seamless and as a result, time should be freed up for financial analysts to not only do what they love, but to do what their job should involve: financial analysis!
At SplashBI we are all too aware that month-end is a stressful and dreaded time for many accountants and financial analysts; with accounts to close and reconcile, financial statements to formulate and analyze, closing the books and getting the financial data ready to present to the business, board members and executives is a frustrating task. There is a better way! We break down six simple reasons why automating the month-end financial process will ease the frustration of last-minute number changes and the time consuming challenges experienced when contending with manual processes.
1. Remove Room for Human Error
Manually inputting financial data leaves ample room for human error, resulting in inaccurate reports that have to be re-keyed, re-formatted and re-submitted. It’s an endless cycle that finance teams in organizations across the globe are extremely frustrated with.
2. Save Time
Inputting numbers and financial data is time-consuming; even more so when numbers have to be added in or reallocated at the last minute which then means the entire process has to be repeated again. Not only does this process waste valuable time and money for organizations, but it can also leave staff extremely demotivated and disengaged, knowing that processes and tasks will have to be replicated again and again each month, with no solution.
3. Increase Accuracy
Removing manual processes and introducing automation not only means that reporting can be far more accurate by using real-time data, but it also means that when last-minute changes undoubtedly need to be made, they will be done instantly, in the right format, removing the headache for the entire finance team.
4. It’s Easy to Implement
With reporting kept within Excel – a tool most users are familiar with – organizations can also remove the reluctance and struggle that often comes when implementing new software or tools. It’s natural for employees to push back on using a new tool that they may not feel comfortable with or that they may not have time to use – but Excel offers the comfort that most time-poor employees crave.
5. The Key is in the Detail
Detail is exactly what board members and senior executives will be looking for in financial reports at times when crucial ROI or budgeting decisions need to be made. Static, manually formatted reports don’t provide the level of detail required for decision-makers, and furthermore, it doesn’t give the financial analysts the information they need to provide answers to the critical questions they may be faced with.
6. Greater Control
With more time and greater confidence in the data being presented, financial analysts can fully analyze the data before it is presented, and therefore foresee any questions or issues that may arise and be prepared with answers or solutions, instilling greater control for all parties. And, by reporting on real-time data, finance teams will be able to answer questions at any time of the month, not just during month-end close.
Now that we know the benefits to be gained, organizations of all sizes, and in all industries, need to reconsider their process for financial reporting and analysis and assess how it could become far more efficient. By automating the process and introducing smart financial reporting, finance teams can do more than just build financial statements and instead remove the headache of month-end close time.