For many routine tasks, the need to just get it done tends to overshadow the inefficiencies and pain along the way. Then, once the task is complete, those irritations are quickly forgotten and your mind moves onto the next task. That is, until the offending task pops up again.
Periodic financial reporting is a great example.
Most organizations put a great deal of manual effort into their periodic reporting. They throw finance bodies at the task of requesting, gathering, collating, and organizing the required data. They manage the process via email and yet another spreadsheet. They struggle to keep data current, struggle with last-minute edits, and struggle to stay on time. And when the report is finally published, they breathe a sigh of relief…and quickly move on to the next task.
“A goal without a method is nonsense.” – W. Edwards Deming
Think about your current reporting process and start counting the number of ways you could improve upon it. Go ahead, we’ll wait. It probably didn’t take you more than a few seconds to come up with a few ideas.
The manual efforts that plague the typical reporting cycle are ripe for automation, especially in 2019. Just the act of collecting the data can easily be automated. The data you need from the business already lives in another application, right? It’s digital and easily transferred, yet you still go through a slow, tedious, manual process to get it. You make a request to a business manager over email, they add it to their to-do list, eventually download it to a spreadsheet, email it to you, and you copy-and-paste it into your master spreadsheet.
That’s just one simple example. Our customers love to tell us how many inefficiencies they had in their reporting process before they started using the Planful Platform for financial reporting. There was the time wasted waiting on busy executives to get back to them or reminding business owners of pending reporting deadlines. There were the arguments over versions, mistakes, formula mismatches, untracked edits, and even formatting changes. And there was the constant dependence on email, a notoriously inefficient, unreliable, and easily avoidable technology that was invented nearly 50 years ago.
There is a better way. In a world where a $250 smartwatch can stream music (from a third-party source), count your steps (using artificial intelligence), and give you directions (using signals from a couple other third-party sources), shouldn’t your business systems be smart enough to eliminate — at the very least — the need for manual data requests and transfers?
Reporting in the Planful Platform removes all of the pain from your reporting process and lets you focus your time and energy on what’s really important – generating new insights and turning those insights into action. Planful can automatically gather data from other systems, organize it for your specific reporting needs, and automatically generate and distribute presentation quality, compliant reports. For reports that require more input and involvement from finance and/or the business, Planful Reporting lets you collaborate with stakeholders, incorporate reviews, reminders, and tasks, and keep everyone working towards important deadlines.
Planful gives you a robust library of report templates to build the foundation of GAAP and IFRS-compliant balance sheets, income statements, statements of cash flow, and other financial and statutory reports. It integrates with other on-premise and cloud-based business systems to eliminate cut-and-paste tedium and human error. It also ensures every bit of data is accurate and up-to-date because it’s always pulling directly from a single source of truth. So any last-minute changes or updates are automatically included.
Then, without coding or even help from IT, you can further create unique and ad hoc reports that fit your business and your needs. You can combine text, charts, and data into a formal PDF or PowerPoint document. When it’s time to distribute, the reports can be automatically published and instantly distributed to recipients (yes, even via email). Along the way, the entire reporting process is tracked to highlight potential risks, reduce compliance and audit costs, and improve efficiency and accuracy.
Planful Reporting has even helped some of our customers reduce their reporting times by 90%! That’s huge, and it’s easily attainable.
Are you ready to build a better reporting process in your organization?
Interested in learning more? Join our next weekly Cloud Financial Planning & Close Platform Demo, which happens every Thursday at noon Eastern Time, 9:00 AM Pacific Time.