When should businesses upgrade systems to pull together the taxing tasks to plan ahead, maintain control & efficiently close the books?

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Many people don’t realize the simplicity that comes when they have a reporting database to pull all their information together in a workflow based system. This lets everyone see and believe all their relevant data from anywhere at anytime.

Being in the industry of helping businesses measure their performance always keeps me busy. Helping clients who call to talk about ways to resolve consolidation and upcoming budget pain is actually nothing new.

But in the end it is these fundamentals that are always questioned by businesses. As they grow and best practices evolve with technology, it is important to have scalable and extensible control systems in place to manage their information.

Having a good performance reporting system even in small and medium sized business is vital. To stay in business we always need to find better ways to sped up and simplify things. That includes management planning and control processes too. Hence planning reporting system upgrades get especially critical as a company grows and adds more tenants to expand their markets and reach. Equally important is a getting scalable well maintained solution that can handle more as they grow more.

These days good integration is also an important consideration. But now even the small and mid-range ERP systems fit well into web database centric reporting systems that can pull it together fast. That means all businesses, big and small can now have the agility to plan and close the books fast.

Good database reporting systems are also now are much cheaper and easier to implement. Even so upgrades are disruptive so businesses worry they may have to go thru it all again in a just a few years as their new system age. To answer that, these days even maintenance and keeping up to date is done well by the solution providers whose survival depends on it. And in those eco-system, advisors like my firm are around in the middle to maintain watchful vigils for clients and stay current and keep the software providers on track. That means business always had somewhere to go to get help.

When an incumbent financial control function in a growing business it often find their legacy are quickly outdated and typically that is when they go looking for a new system. They then see the the risk of losing control and the need to remove the constraint for meeting their goals. Conversely when it comes to investing in cycle downturn times we are seeing a change of attitude. In the past slowdown meant change programs were put on hold as cash got tight. But we are seeing a change there now too with cloud based services going in to enable tactical and competitive rapid respond to downturn changes. This is allowing business to keep their cash while also being able to update to get change done quickly for their vital pin point decisions.

At the sharp end now typically this month also sees the flurry of year end closes around the world for all the June 30 companies. In the next month or so it will be hard to get the attention of CFO’s they deal with all their compliance reporting for the past year. For them it is too late this year to put in a Consolidation system as they continue to rely on their legacy systems with late nights and a lot of skill to bridge often cobbled systems with spreadsheets.

But for them it is too late to change this year. Simplifying the tasks will now have to wait to improve how they add it all up and sort out and eliminate intergroup trading, shareholders’ interests. Streamlining year end reconciliations, making adjustment journaling and responding to board audit committee demands are just a few of the issues they face where a new system will help. Complying with the imposing IFRS is also able to be handled well in updated reporting systems. And many know well spreadsheets are hard work when wrestling with things like with currency translations and the like to get the numbers all added up and in order. It also becomes quite nightmare that over time becomes unworkable unless a reporting database is added to allow data to be maintained in and ordered way with repotting able to be added and reformatted as needed

For the many closing the books now it is also a time to sort out who get what when it comes to income tax. We all know that one of our largest expenses in our businesses is tax. And the IRS across the globe universally get first dibs its share on any money a business makes make before the shareholders get a penny. It is not coincidence when you put those two words together namely ‘The ‘ and ‘IRS’, it spells ‘THEIRS’? With is the game over for last year to minimize tax, The scorekeeper can do no more than pay, as it is way too late to look at a planning system to get more efficient to reduce the taxes we need to pay.

So it is actually a really good time for all those companies out there who are really busy closing now to get their IT people to start looking around and do some homework to feedback on what’s possible. And as they do CFO teams should make notes on the issues and be ready to go forward when they can lift their heads.

Later in the year they can be ready to use the half year reporting cycle which is always a good time to test a change iron out the bugs for the next year end. And having a system for doing the budgets for their next year will then be quickly quickly upon them as is tax planning for the year in progress.

As advisors our firm, Sherwood Group Consulting works with and promotes Infor PM which is one of the leaders and meets all the criteria. Hence I am obliged to give them a plug or suggest you to call or contact us if you want some advice as to where to start.

To answer the question I am so often asked about where and when to start this video actually says it so well. Getting controls can start anywhere in the cycle and you can even start small then take it from there.

 

This video is excellent summary that makes the point well for CFOs’ and key business Executives to watch.

But plugs aside, if you are in business I urge you to get your CFO’s to take a look around and see how others are doing things and what systems are about that can help.

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