Today’s finance professionals are deluged with information telling them what the “issue of the day” is.
But these people don’t need to be told what the critical issues facing their teams are. They’re all too well aware. But, they can’t always see a way clear to deal with some of these challenges.
Underpinning these issues is the keen awareness that they should be more strategic, they should take on the role of business partner, that they should be driving the business intelligence and analytics process.
So, if the C-suite is asking finance professionals to join them at the decision-makers’ table, what’s holding them back?
If your email inbox is like anyone else’s, you’ll receive constant alerts informing you of your latest arrivals. Many of your incoming emails will be research papers prepared by independent technology research companies. Many will be from professional associations or publications targeting the finance profession.
While these are often relevant and interesting to you, there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to read these properly and absorb the information.
Besides, who needs to be told that all your financial data should be stored and managed in the cloud, when you’re struggling to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, FRS 101 and 102 and still tackle the year-end or month-end challenge?
However, in the midst of all the daily announcements and reports, there is an increasing amount of research that should catch the attention of finance practitioners. This is the research conducted among international CEOs and CFOs, which confirms that over the last decade or so, the role of finance teams has been undergoing a transformation from collectors and keepers of company financial information to key business partners, tasked with providing internal and external information and expertise to support the management decision-making process.
The challenges facing today’s Chief Financial Officers and the functions they lead are significant, due to the demands of supporting business growth at the same time as creating sustainable wealth creation and shareholder return. Finance leaders are required to have a broad knowledge across all areas of the finance value chain, from strategy to performance measurement and reporting, to assurance, risk and compliance in order that they are able to ask the right question and ensure that performance is on track.
Anecdotally, finance teams appear to be receiving increasing requests for customised or ad hoc reports, placing an additional strain on resources that are already stretched thin.
Harnessing the power of technology
Technology has long been recognised as an enabler to the transformation of finance and although companies may have made significant investment in systems, this is most often targeted towards ERP and operational systems to drive transactional and process efficiency. This results in a continuing reliance on traditional spreadsheets.
Excel is still used extensively worldwide and many enterprises still use stand-alone spreadsheets for critical applications like financial reporting
Many critics point to deficiencies and shortcomings with Excel, particularly with respect to being error-prone and failing to provide the level of control required by many companies. And most people will agree that the Excel process surrounding budgeting, forecasting and reporting can be extremely resource and time-intensive.
Despite these shortcomings, Excel remains the finance tool of choice, due to its ease of use and familiarity, despite the fact that as a critical tool for budgeting and forecasting, it is often inadequate and can result in duplicate versions of data, which can be misinterpreted or missed.
So, how can businesses, which need accurate and timely information to remain competitive, make the transition to a business solution that helps them evaluate performance and identify trends and opportunities?
The easiest way to make this transition is to select a financial performance solution that is easy-to-use and easy to implement, that requires minimal training time.
CENTRIXE seamlessly integrates into Excel 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 in a matter of minutes.
Selecting a solution with an Excel interface will achieve user buy-in quickly, because it’s already familiar to users and will yield positive results almost immediately with its automated processes.
CENTRIXE is multi-dimensional (OLAP) software providing complete financial functionality for consolidations, budgeting and management reporting. It can easily combine information from multiple sources and provides all the benefits of rapid reporting.
CENTRIXE can be used to consolidate, based on a legal structure, geography or an industry structure. It can create multiple paths that can be used for business reorganisation modelling, providing a range of different scenarios, pre- or post-acquisition, without impacting your current consolidation. And, if CENTRIXE’s Inter Company Balancing module is being used, the consolidation process can take care of all eliminations at both intra and inter-group levels.
Because CENTRIXE is truly flexible, users can easily make changes to report formats and incorporate new reporting requirements without involving IT, allowing users to adapt and respond to changing
local requirements and eliminating the risk of duplication when data is taken from multiple sources.
Because CENTRIXE solutions are scalable, they can be developed to meet the exact requirements of any finance team, and can be rapidly deployed within days.
There are almost immediate and obvious benefits of using an automated solution for your financial performance management.
- The process is significantly less time-consuming, because iterations can be accommodated around a multi-dimensional database and all data is held there against a common dimension structure. This provides the capacity to maintain multiple versions of budgets and forecasts and manage many iterations of submissions.
- Greater accuracy is achieved through inbuilt profiling functionality, enabling data items to be forecast based on your assumptions of trending and growth rules.
- Elimination of duplication and errors as any structural or logic changes made to the model are immediately reflected in all locations and versions, so everyone has the same information.
- Forecasts and budgets can be easily compared against any other data versions in the model, providing the basis for analysis of the latest forecast by comparing it to the previous version or to the budget, or against the latest actuals.
- Predictive modelling capacity allows you to develop unlimited “what if” scenarios, facilitating the forecasting process and providing a basis for additional analysis.
- Forecast and budget data can be used immediately in any reporting, along with previous forecasts, actual and historic data.