Today's business context and priorities call for CFO's to have access to their organization's financial performance reports at all times. An effective CFO will detect financial performance trends early in the cycle, analyze the same in light of the various dynamics involved and initiate necessary course corrections.
Timely and correct decision making can turn the fortunes of an organization and in turn that of the CFO. To make this possible, the CFO inevitably needs access to actionable insights anytime, anywhere.
While what most CFOs track, are somewhat similar, but still each organization has to spend considerable thought and time on designing MIS requirements as per what is important for their business. Almost all CFO's I have interacted with have put in a lot of thought in arriving at the metrics, KPIs and MIS formats.
Irrespective of the investments they have made on a variety of Software Solutions, CFOs have often voiced these concerns in my conversations with them:
• We are used to looking at MIS reports in a particular way. Most software tools are not capable of generating reports exactly the way we want them.
• Microsoft Excel reports are still the most convenient way of analyzing and distributing reports. I want the same MIS reports that my team prepares in excel, to now be generated by the software.
• My company has grown through mergers. There is a lack of standardization within group companies. Getting group level reports has become a nightmare.
• My reports have a lot of derived metrics. Most software tools are not capable of creating derived metrics that are not directly available in my source ERP system.
Because of these challenges, CFOs are bound to face decision-making hurdles, as financial reports continue to come through slow legacy mechanisms – with insights always trailing data.
Delay in delivery: Manually prepared reports take time and effort before they are generated and circulated to all stakeholders. There is also a loss in the currency of data. You do not get access to critical business reports until somebody works manually on unstructured data, generate reports and mails them across to you. Delay in reports lead to delay in decision making.
Prone to error and non-compliance: Manual processes are prone to error, and such errors with respect to financial data can lead to serious internal and regulatory non-compliance.
Any automation of the CFO's MIS and Financial reporting requirements, have to be done taking into account the way the business operates. The Business operates from Mars and Technology from Venus – the twain has to meet to create the required magic.
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