In today’s fast –paced world, it is known to all that the roles and responsibilities of a CFO has been and is continually changing and the pressure to perform better has been mounting. One of the key tasks of every CFO that presents more challenges than usual is financial reporting.
A reliable and efficient financial reporting is and always will be the cornerstone of today’s most successful companies. It is in this vein that many CFOs are now forced to review the traditional ways they have been creating, generating, collating, and analyzing reports. CFOs need to have an honest assessment on whether or not their relied upon method is sustainable given the many internal and external factors they have to contend with now and in the future.
All businesses whether big or small do not only need tightened controls around reporting, it also requires that decision makers carefully examine their internal procedures, policies, technological investments, process efficiencies, personnel and how all these tie up to the company´s overall objectives. This is one of the many reasons why financial reporting is at the forefront of the finance department´s tasks.
CFOs always look at how to reduce operational costs and they often turn to technology in an attempt to improve and optimize their processes. CFOs are becoming more and more well versed in technological demands not only because they want to but also because they acknowledge that they have to if they want to remain competitive. This is why they always look at financial reporting priorities and technologies that can quickly and cost-efficiently help them.
We have listed down the most important financial reporting priorities that every modern CFOs should know about:
- Data Integrity
Data integrity is one of the top priorities of every CFO. Maintaining reliability and trust around the figures is critical in order for them to gain valuable insights from the figures.
Over the last few decades, many CFOs have invested significantly on platforms that foster enterprise wide collaboration and information accuracy as well as consistency in order to guarantee integrity of the information and relevance. This can be through ERP investment or just about any automation tool that can foster integration of systems and information across different units and areas.
Without data integrity across the entire company, financial reporting will fail as this is the first and arguably the most important priority of a CFO.
- Shifting to the Cloud
Cloud computing keep on being the top choice for CFOs who needs to use its advantage to improve the accuracy and accessibility of financial reporting information. It enables organizations or businesses to be more reactive and adaptable giving them the capacity to make better decisions while increasing productivity and efficiency.
The implementation of cloud-based reporting technologies can definitely reduce financial reporting costs and enable them to do more even with the few resources available. Further, consolidating multiple sources into one cloud-based data repository enable CFOs and their financial teams to gain a single and integrated view into the business that they need for comprehensive financial reporting.
- Speed and Accessibility of Data
Financial leaders do not only need data that can be trusted, they need these data delivered to them when they want it, when they need it, and wherever they may be in the world.
These demands can be met when using various modern business intelligence solutions. Through a robust BI solution, data is presented in a way that makes most sense to the company via dashboards and most importantly, these insights can be accessed through any mobile device when the situation warrants it.
Having the ability to access information promptly at the second when it matters most regardless of the place is a key success factor for CFOs in their quest to be more reactive and proactive to the market stressors and indicators.
- Data Handling and Security
We are at a time of increased risks for data mishandling and cybercrime which is why one of the key priorities of any CFO is to protect their data from threats of hacking and of potential misuse.
Both scenarios where data is mishandled or insufficiently protected can result to costly consequences for the company. Information that falls into the wrong hands can be used against the company in stealing its market share and competitive advantages.
CFOs then turn to solutions that offer not only a single layered security protection for their data but a multi-layered one where there are sufficient control measures both internally and externally. There is too much to lose by being complacent when it comes to data handling and security.
There are a lot more things a CFO has to worry about. The 4 enumerated above are but the ones that has the biggest impact to a CFO´s ability to decide, strategize, and plan. In all of these, it is important to take note that improving or optimizing financial reporting in a business requires more than just a simple technology investment. It can sometimes require drastic cultural or process changes that are usually met with resistance. As with anything that is new to any business, ensuring that CFOs get the commitment and buy-in of all stakeholders is key.
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