Management accounts in the digital age

How much do you and your colleagues look forward to receiving and reading the weekly management pack from your finance team?  Or if you work in finance, how much do you and your team look forward to generating and distributing those reports?  Let’s face it, it’s quite an important question to ask, given the number of hours that many organisations still dedicate to this weekly ritual.  

Management Accounts in the Digital Age

How much do you and your colleagues look forward to receiving and reading the weekly management pack from your finance team? Or if you work in finance, how much do you and your team look forward to generating and distributing those reports? Let’s face it, it’s quite an important question to ask, given the number of hours that many organisations still dedicate to this weekly ritual.

Highly qualified finance professionals are going to the trouble of wading through Excel spreadsheets to pull together comprehensive PDF management packs, which are then either emailed, or more often than you’d believe in this digital age, printed and distributed around the organisation. We’re not talking about small organisations with limited skills, resources and budgets at their disposal here either. Culprits include some of the UK’s most well-known organisations and high street names - those you’d think would really know better!

Do you want or need to change?

“What’s the problem?”, comes the cry of finance teams across the nation – “It’s the way we’ve always done it and it works perfectly well for our business”.

But if your organisation is still reliant on this process, have you ever thought about the cost to the business – not only in terms of the wasted time and resources within a skilled finance team that are essentially spending a high percentage of their time on administrative tasks – but also across the rest of the organisation, amongst the business leaders that need to wade through multi-page PDFs to find the information that’s relevant and pertinent to their particular role.

What’s more the solution can be far more straightforward than you might imagine. Rather than investing in a completely new process or overhauling your financial reporting systems, it’s now perfectly possible and extremely effective to use a piece of Business Intelligence (BI) software to automate your existing process. We’re talking about taking the woefully inefficient printable PDF that you currently distribute each week, and instead making an interactive version of that report instantly available online to all the relevant people.

What’s the return on investment?

Working in partnership with Budgeting Solutions, one major high street retailer has already made the move to a more interactive, online reporting process, making significant time and cost savings across the organisation.

Due to the increase in multi-channel retailing, it was proving a struggle to report and forecast efficiently, with multiple Excel spreadsheets a particular bottleneck. Overcoming the common challenges of growing data volumes and a lack of collaboration across different lines of business leading to multiple versions of the truth and a lack of confidence in the final numbers, business leaders are now able to access the specific information they need in just a couple of mouse clicks.

Through the use of BI, the whole process of weekly sales reporting and quarterly store forecasting is far more efficient, meaning the finance team are able to do more analytical tasks rather than simply chasing the numbers. The reports are automatically formatted and distributed every Monday morning to the regional managers – enabling accurate reporting from their data warehouse.

Prior to this, the retailer was producing a weekly PDF/printed report of 100+ pages which was emailed or printed for the store and category managers. It was taking the staff most of the week to produce this report and every Monday morning there was issues to resolve. Moving forward, the introduction of interactive dashboards and visualisations will drive even greater business value.

Another Budgeting Solutions client – a UK-wide catering company - has gone a stage further and invested in a sophisticated planning analytics solution that enables them to have a real-time view of the data that they would have previously had to wait for the finance team to manually generate. Watch this 90 second video to find out more:

Are your Management Accounts loved or loathed?

In today’s data-driven, digital world, investing in automation and analytics that can not only provide deeper insight but also drive efficiencies across the business, is a game-changing opportunity for those organisations that are looking to gain and retain a competitive advantage.

As the volume, velocity and variety of data continues to grow and the pace of business change continues to accelerate, there has never been a more compelling financial business case for investing in BI. In a 3 year TCO study conducted by IBM for example, the ROI on Cognos Analytics was as much as 218% for an on-premise solution and for a cloud solution, ranged from 246% to an astounding 617%! The payback period is also impressive, at less than a year for on-premise and within 6 months for the cloud.

The numbers certainly add up. So maybe it’s just a question of how attached you are to your current management packs?

 

Want to explore this subject further?

Budgeting Solutions is a leading consultancy with a proven track record of implementing powerful business intelligence and financial performance management applications that are designed to address the planning, forecasting, reporting and analysis challenges faced by organisations everywhere.

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If you feel it would be beneficial to meet up and discuss in more detail the challenges in Finance through the over reliance on Excel and other potential legacy systems then please contact us using your preferred medium below:

Email: enquiries@budgetingsolutions.co.uk

Telephone: 0115 853 2863

Alternatively, watch our ‘About Budgeting Solutions’ video introduction to find out more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hxbdby_5kU