Finance Blog | 29 April 2015

An Automated Approach: Easing Financial Reporting Pressure

Big deal

62 per cent of CFOs and finance leaders feel their staff are too heavily immersed in basic financial management duties to improve processes, according to the findings of a recent survey. Financial professionals now face significant pressures, especially during the year-end reporting process, and this is particularly true at large PLCs where pre-published financial calendars must be strictly adhered to. In addition, professionals must also keep firmly abreast of industry changes to statutory reporting processes, the most recent example of which is the Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 102.

This primary new UK GAAP standard has replaced all past FRSs and Statements of Standard Accounting Practices (SSAPs). A single standard comprising of 35 sections, FRS 102 is based on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for SMEs and is clear in its requirements for the reporting of statutory information. Adhering to guidelines around the accuracy and correct formatting of financial data can be an especially complicated process across organisations with international subsidiaries utilising disparate data inputting systems and processes.

During the aforementioned survey, 39 per cent of respondents revealed that spreadsheets alone are currently used for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) plus internal reporting – however this is a flawed approach as spreadsheets, used in isolation, do not provide absolute data control. They also provide limited visibility, with data responsibility and accountability difficult to establish. These are crucial factors when ensuring that consolidated figures are IFRS compliant.

Summarising the aforementioned survey, Graham Tasman of accountancy firm Grant Thornton LLP states that, “the finance function must break away from overemphasis on managing historical data … and free up talent for higher-value activities.” These findings highlight the need for a change in approach – one that, through the use of technology, enables finance teams to successfully transition towards the role of strategic business partner.

Financial Performance solutions automate the financial reporting process while retaining Excel’s look and feel, at the same time strictly adhering to IFRS requirements through the incorporation of unalterable standard formatting and formulas. With minimal training required following implementation, Talentia CPM is specifically designed to provide absolute confidence in the validity of financial data at a Group level.

Further insight on this topic is now available in the latest whitepaper from Talentia Software, Maintaining control: how technology is finally securing vital financial data.