Key steps to improve your financial reporting process | Unit4
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Want to know how to improve your financial reporting process?

We wanted to know too. So we’re taking a look at what the experts have to say. To find out, we’ll be digging into the results of independent industry experts BPM Partners’ annual study into the state of financial reporting to understand why so many organizations were choosing to transform their financial reporting processes during a crisis.

During April and May 2020, they spoke to over 300 finance leaders across all industries to uncover whether better financial reporting, budget management, planning, and reporting solutions were helping their response to today's unique challenges or not.

The challenges facing your financial close and reporting process

Right now, many organizations' financial close and reporting processes are facing similar challenges, including slower budgeting, unconnected data sources, the inability to determine actual profitability, and lack of strategic alignment. 

And facing these challenges in an unexpectedly remote working world has accelerated the need to digitize financial reporting processes across all industries.

So how do you deploy these new digital financial reporting strategies and solutions across a now fragmented workforce? Especially when finance teams are finding that spreadsheets can no longer keep up.

How to improve financial reporting and face challenges head-on?

The research found that many organizations were facing a tough choice in how best to approach these challenges. To improve their financial reporting processes for the future, they could either try and find quick temporary fixes that worked in the short term. Or they could think big picture and look into the benefits of complete root and branch financial transformation. 

Interestingly, of the finance leaders BPM Partners talked with, many choose the more comprehensive and bolder approach, but why? Usually, their research told them this route offered a stronger bedrock to build on for the future.

Making financial reporting process transformation happen

So for teams looking to transform their financial reporting strategy, what's the next step?

Successful digital transformation comes from finding the right solution for your organization. Today, powering modern financial reporting processes requires integrated and flexible systems. Financial tools like FP&A bring all your data, people, and systems together in one placeAnd give you the ability to supercharge decision-making, find significant insights faster, and work more collaboratively.

But how do you know a solution is right for your financial reporting processes?

The simplest way to judge a solution's success is to measure your live performance against your initial requirements. Doing this let you create a more agile and complete solution that delivers accuracy, insights, and decision-making in faster and more intelligent ways. It also replaces the technology and processes that keep your organization disconnected and creates a more streamlined and adaptable way of working. It can manage any future crisis facing your industry without the need for yet another total transformation of financial systems and processes.

How do you get there?

When benefits seem this exciting with the promise of better adoption and improved results across your entire organization, it looks like an easy win. So what's the catch? It's that no matter how exciting these benefits are, they come with a cost. Whether that's time, resource, or money, it's a cost nonetheless. Right now, taking on costs like these can seem like a risk too far. Or at least that's what you might think.

In fact, BPM Partners found that this risk aversion wasn't the case. For over 62% of the organizations they spoke to, an increased focus and spend on financial reporting change transformation was critical to their response to the crisis’s impact. How did they realize that transforming and improving financial reporting processes was more important than cost? 

They did this by understanding their drivers for change. And what the outcomes of inaction would mean to their organizations.

For most organizations transforming their financial processes in 2020, these drivers were very similar. However, that's not always the case. In this research, BPM Partners found that most organizations focused on the need for strategic planning, more frequent forecasting, and scenario modeling. 

Though it's worth remembering that these results were a specific response to the challenges around planning and unpredictability facing financial teams right now. This will change as the economy, and your organization evolves. But the importance of knowing your drivers for change before undertaking any transformation will always remain essential.

Improve your financial planning with Unit4

Discover how Unit4 can boost your financial planning with our recent webinar. Where independent expert and BPM Partners CEO, Craig Schiff spoke with Unit4's Oliver Sullivin and Richard Ludlow to explore the above BPM Partners research in detail and understand why more organizations than ever are looking to change their finance tools during the biggest economic shift in a century.