Six tips to improve your financial reporting process

Improve financial reporting process image
June 27, 2016

The perpetual rise in government regulations quickly adds on unwanted hours of reporting. With increasing demands and repercussions for individual errors, accuracy and efficiency seem a distant dream only possible by headache-inducing work.

My white paper, Financial and Management Reporting Process Improvement, explains the repercussions of ignoring change and staying complacent with error and pain points in your reporting process.

In a recent FP&A Technology Survey, 66 percent of financial professionals report over 9 hours of non-value add activities, and 27 percent said they spend over 20 hours a month. In addition, 60 percent of companies say their reports don't contain the right information.

Clearly, there is a problem, in fact, more than one: There are overlooked process issues due to the tradition of past practices. Technology used to support these processes does not meet modern reporting requirements.

To reevaluate current practices, begin with understanding your current situation, desired future state, according objectives, then taking a deeper look at your reporting process. Are the necessary steps included to achieve future goals? Are there steps involved that create bottlenecks? How are these steps connected?

Delving into these questions will shed light on areas that are eligible for improvement. Focus on the process you are responsible for, then involve others to examine other segments as part of the overall strategy.

Changing for the better will go as far as your technology will allow. Version control issues, security issues, and inconsistencies associated with traditional software are common challenges that add tedious work to financial reporting professionals. Pairing with a cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) business reporting system will enable you to transform your process beyond what any desktop-based program can support.

To learn more about specific steps toward improvement and technology's role in the process, download my white paper here.

Mike Rost

About the author

Mike Rost is a key contributor to product strategy at Workiva and works with business leaders in the areas of financial reporting and compliance. With more than 25 years of experience assisting organizations using technology to optimize business processes, Mike has an extensive background in finance and accounting, corporate performance management, and GRC technology. Mike was a founding member of XBRL International with involvement in the XBRL initiative dating back to 1999. He has also been active in industry associations, including the Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG) and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Mike has a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Minnesota.