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5 Findings from Our Global Statutory Reporting Survey

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10 February 2020

Global statutory reporting is evolving as multinational organisations look to further streamline the finance function. To provide better insight on the current state of statutory reporting and where it is heading in the future, we polled finance professionals from around the world.

Here are five key findings from the survey, in addition to ways your organisation can address the issues plaguing this legal entity reporting process.

1. Lack of centralisation

61% of respondents said their statutory reporting process is either not centralised at all or only somewhat centralised. The lack of centralisation increases the already substantial manual effort required to complete entity reports, it makes it more difficult for stakeholders to collaborate and it limits the agility and adaptability of the statutory reporting process.

Despite the fact that 56% of respondents have at least 25 entities—with 14% having over 100—presently, there is clearly a disconnect between people, data and process in statutory reporting.

How to address the issue: Consider a connected reporting and compliance platform that enables you to create a multilingual single-source library. Centralise data and narrative, including corporate governance and financial information, and increase oversight, control and efficiency.

Additionally, a centralised process makes team collaboration more efficient for all relevant stakeholders in your statutory reporting process, including stat preparers, reviewers, tax, external auditors, legal and third-party service providers.

2. Despite limitations, spreadsheets are still prevalent

75% of respondents said they still use traditional word processing spreadsheets to create and assemble statutory reports, despite the inherent security, audit and data integrity risks. Plus, with traditional spreadsheets, you have to deal with version control issues and limited visibility into what was adjusted and why.

How to address the issue: Mitigate these risks by shifting to a secure, cloud-based reporting platform which ensures consistency and provides transparency into the tracking and review process with your internal and external stakeholders.

3. External audits consume a significant amount of time

Only 20% of respondents typically handle their external audits in less than one month, with the external audit taking more than three months for 22% of respondents.

How to address the issue: Start the path to faster, more efficient audits by making record keeping transparent and accurate. Look at platforms that provide support for attaching documents, comments, issue approvals, revision history and blacklines.

4. A massive need for greater efficiency

You would rather spend your time providing insight to key stakeholders in the organisation than simply completing reports, but statutory reporting can consume a significant amount of time and effort. Respondents said that the two most time-consuming steps of their statutory reporting process are managing and gathering data (70%) and preparing the report (65%).

How to address the issue: Instead of spending your time data wrangling, connect data from your ERP or system of record directly to your system of work that you use for reporting. By simplifying and automating how you connect your data, you will save an incredible amount of time. Additionally, you will be able to define in detail how you will work with the data while also maintaining its integrity and context.

5. The greatest risk in statutory reporting is the accuracy and consistency of data

Significant attention is paid to statutory reporting from investors, auditors and management. Therefore, the accuracy of the reports is crucial. Respondents to the survey agreed, as 65% said ensuring data accuracy and consistency is the single greatest area of risk in their current statutory reporting process.

How to address the issue: Minimise risk and improve the accuracy of data with a platform that allows you to connect, track and aggregate critical financial and nonfinancial information. By connecting your data, numbers and narrative are always up to date throughout your financial statements and reports.

Download the infographic to see more details of the survey and discover how your process compares to organisations around the world.

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