The Death of Business Intelligence

Financial Consolidation software: The Binoculars of the Corporate World

Posted in Analytics, Business, Business Intelligence, IT, Mobile Business Intelligence by errahseno on March 18, 2014

The Chief financial officer and his team are bombarded with overflowing huge amounts of data every day. It is not a bank of data resources that is question rather a question of how well the team can convert all these data into valuable information able to run the business and drive maximized profit.

While it may seem fairly easy for smaller companies, this is not the same case for a bigger, widely distributed multinational company. The daunting tasks of having to collate the profit and loss reports from varying locations, to consolidate these reports, and contrast it against the corporate budget is just a bird´s eye view of what they have to battle with.

Imagine what it feels like for these teams during month-end reporting. Just moving the entries from being just operational to now analytic is a challenge by itself. As if the challenge is not enough imagine reconciling the ledgers.

Without any doubt, the system of guessing and crossing fingers just cannot do the trick anymore if the company wants to stay afloat in the industry and even more so, if the company has high ambitions of aggressive corporate growth. The home-grown make-do financial systems of companies which used to suffice cannot even be relied on anymore.

There needs to be improved visibility on what drives the inflow of money for the company and what drives its losses. There needs to be an improved ability to see where the money should go and where it should not. A tool which can be used to have a closer look at the real numbers, turn these numbers into analytic information, and these information into concrete business decisions.

Does my tool help me see things clearly?

There are disparate notions about what makes up good financial software but when searching for a new financial consolidation tool, there are certain things that are non-negotiable. Here are 3 of the most important features, you need to look for:

1.       User-friendliness

This is always an overly claimed and promised feature by many software-providers but very few of the choices of software out there actually are. In choosing financial consolidation software, people tend to forget that ease in setting it up and maintaining the tool is just as important as what it can do. The tool must be easy enough for the team to be handled but robust enough for the tool to handle all of the demands of consolidation.

2.       Intelligent, Real-time Functionality

Can your tool keep up with the modern complexity of your corporate structures and hierarchies while making sure it can handle varying currencies and several account policies? Is it intelligent and quick enough to allow you to view certain financial impacts of certain types of changes in the organization? Can it keep up with the dynamism of your business? Do you have instant access to transaction systems?

3.       Rigid Control

The integrity of the numbers you produce in the end is the most important factor you must consider. Does your financial consolidation tool provide you features that ensure the process is tightly regulated minimizing risks? Do you get reasonable numbers out of it?

If you are not convinced by the tool you are using or the tool you are considering, it sounds logical and reasonable to reassess your options, think about your predefined financial structures and goals, and how this tool can leverage you towards fulfilling those goals. The financial software consolidation tool is after all, your binoculars to the future.

Why should finance take over business intelligence?

Posted in Uncategorized by TheLondonEconomic on July 29, 2013

Information is mined by programmers and technicians, but when it comes to the processing of data, the Journal of Accountancy argues the finance department should be taking the lead role.

Data has transformed most roles in the business sphere, but the corporate finance function has been particularly affected by the influx of information. According to Donny Shimamoto, a certified information technology professional at Chartered Global Management Accountant, finance should own the business intelligence (BI) role for the good of accountants and the good of the organization.

Speaking at the AICPA Financial Planning & Analysis Conference in Las Vegas, he explained that there are three reasons why finance should focus more onBI. First and foremost, the finance department can usually add clarity, accuracy and relevance to what is often just confusing numbers to those without the skills or expertise to process. A recent Gartner report says that businesses are “still struggling to make progress with (business intelligence) andanalytics”, which is why employing those with analytical skills can add insight to information.

Secondly, senior officials often perceive information coming from the finance department as being more trustworthy and valid. Accountants are seen as ‘purveyors of the truth’ in an organisation, and there is a certain validity that accompanies information processed by accountants.

Finally, the rise in analytics represents an opportunity for finance to shift toward a role of business partner. Accountants “can go beyond traditional cost control and start to evolve the role to be looking at the organization as a whole and discussing how to best optimize the performance,” Shimamoto says.

In order to adapt to the new corporate finance function, the role of accountants should be broken into four quadrants. There will be the traditional steward/controller role, the trusted reporter role and compliance duties which are already incorporated into most positions. But along with these functions, there will also be a move towards more technical expertise. This is the one Shimamoto hopes finance can become more attuned with.

“Finance is the key to help unlock the power of business intelligence,” he said. “The tools have evolved to become so user-friendly that you don’t need IT to help get the information. It’s evolved now so finance can do it all on (its) own. That’s a huge change within the last decade.”

That’s where DS Panel’s Performance Canvas comes in. With Performance Canvas, finance professionals can track business opportunities and create visual alerts when new opportunities arise. They can also optimize budget cycles, create and store multiple what-if scenarios and deploy them depending on the business situation and monitor forecast vs actual expenditures in real-time. All of this comes in a zero-footprint, Excel or Web based financial client, to make adaption seamless.