Reporting for Duty: Is Your Reporting Function Simply Going Through the Motions?

You know it’s coming—that dreaded request for yet another corporate report. And it can sometimes feel like the team is simply going through the motions, methodically generating report after report, serving up numbers that the board, top management, business unit VPs, and others need to understand the health of the organization.

But the growing mountain of operational and financial data stored across disconnected systems is making it increasingly difficult to deliver actionable information to these stakeholders.

Our CFO Indicator Q4 2016 report explored the reporting process with over 400 global CFOs, seeking to understand the key reporting challenges that must be overcome if CFOs and their teams intend to elevate the value of the reporting function. Our results show that while most CFOs (85%) claim to have direct access to the data they need, many are spending too much time gathering that data, confirming its accuracy and consistency, and formatting reports so that they can be digested by those  outside of finance. This leaves very little time for the value-added analysis that stakeholders need to inform strategic decision-making.

As we’ve previously reported CFOs have a goal to double the time that their teams spend on strategic tasks by 2020, yet they don’t appear to be making progress. In Q2 2016, CFOs reported that their teams were spending 18% of their time on strategy, and our latest survey shows this has dipped slightly to 17%. If CFOs intend to meet their goal, they can’t afford to take small steps backward or even accept the status quo—especially with report volumes on the rise.

According to our survey, nearly 70% of CFOs have seen a rise in report volumes and, on average, this group expects an additional 16% increase by 2020. Continuing to rely on traditional reporting platforms will only magnify the shortcomings in the reporting process.

The majority of CFOs say the lack of data integration is the key technology hurdle standing in the way of delivering actionable information to stakeholders. By centralizing data and automating the non-value-added tasks that continue to drag out the reporting process, finance has an opportunity to increase the value of the reporting function and deliver the actionable information their myriad stakeholders need to make better decisions.

Check out our infographic for more information on how changes in the reporting process will impact the future of finance and corporate performance management (CPM).

Download the CFO Indicator Q4 2016 report for more insights, survey results, and charts.

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