Key Accounting and Finance Trends in 2023
This past September, the Workiva Amplify conference doubled down on incredible content and actionable insights. Over 7,200 attendees joined us in Las Vegas or virtually for more than 70+ high-octane, informative sessions across three tracks, including accounting and finance.
With so many sessions to choose from, it would’ve been impossible to get all the vital information you need. So we’ve compiled some of the biggest accounting and finance takeaways and 2023 trends to watch out for from Amplify.
It’s all about the automation, baby
Two trends you need to hop on ASAP to streamline reporting: consolidation and automation. Capturing data and storing it in one place empowers accounting and finance teams to improve the quality of their reports and the reporting process. And automation eliminates time-consuming manual tasks so you can focus on high-value strategic work.
XBRL® is a critical reporting mechanism
When it comes to XBRL tagging, the level of review and scrutiny is often less than the paper-based version but the reporting exercise is no less important. Your XBRL format is a public reporting mechanism and is being consumed at an ever-increasing rate by analysts, ratings agencies, and the SEC (just to name a few). Poor XBRL data quality leads to poor reporting, which can keep you out of the conversation with your peers–and means that you’re not in control of your message.
Think beyond the SEC when it comes to tagging and disclosures. What are you trying to convey to your investors, analysts, and others, and is your XBRL tagging consistent with that message? XBRL oversight and XBRL data are an important part of your holistic reporting process.
XBRL consumption is traditionally limited to financial disclosures, but that is changing quickly. Global regulatory reporting is increasingly demanding XBRL-tagged data, including a slew of new proposals from the SEC. Just six months ago, there were 181 XBRL disclosures that require XBRL reporting, but today it’s over 200. Requirements are growing without any signs of slowing.
With these changes, some things keep in mind:
- Consider XBRL reporting processes as you consider and implement new reporting requirements, including your SEC filings
- Think about how external XBRL data can make the reporting process more efficient by lending insights, comparisons, and benchmarks
- Consider your internal data in addition to your externally reported data—preparers should consider themselves the first consumer
Connect your teams
Internal auditors and SEC reporting teams are (or should be) meeting with each other and their counterparts in ESG, investor relations, and legal to nail down processes for collecting ESG data, embedding internal controls, and getting assurance from outside parties on that data.
Prevent reporting from getting the better of you
It’s easy to be so caught up with chasing your reporting that it ends up managing you instead of the other way around. Here are some signs your reporting process needs to be simplified:
- Short timeframe in between reporting periods
- Tedious, repetitive tasks that you’re completing manually
- Great effort to process late adjustments
- Lacking time for review and investigation of variance
- Disparate data sources and amount of data
- No audit trail
If this seems familiar, don’t lose hope! You can take back control. By preparing and structuring your data, you can drive much higher gains in reporting automation. We suggest embracing a single source sheet to support all disclosures for interim and annual periods and using a tool to connect disparate data sources and quickly compile information.
Take your reporting to the next level by ensuring the builder of your reporting model isn’t a bottleneck. One of the biggest risks in redesigning the reporting model is that the builder is often the only one who knows how to use it. Embrace formatting consistency, scalability, and easy-to-use models with a legend. Detailed documentation simplifies the process and allows anyone to come in and do what they need to get the job done.