Finance teams have always played a critical part in large organizations, but now business leaders…
Financial consolidation remains an essential activity for finance teams. Today, however, the focus for finance professionals is geared more towards strategic business development than general financial stewardship. As a result, they must seek opportunities to reduce laborious, manual activities (of which financial consolidation is often one) to free up time to focus on their developing role.
While the process of financial consolidation isn’t new, achieving it often remains a pain point for many organizations. In a recent whitepaper from BPM Partners, 10 key requirements for next-level financial consolidation, this point is astutely summarized:
Enterprises seeking to improve their financial consolidation are usually either handling this process using outdated legacy systems, separate applications that are loosely integrated, and/or many Excel spreadsheets. In nearly all cases, they are not taking advantage of newer technology.
This is a common theme we see at many organizations struggling or unable to benefit from next-level financial consolidation truly. So, with a clear opportunity for businesses to drastically improve (and even revolutionize) their financial consolidation process, what critical criteria would we expect to see in a more modern approach?
As highlighted above by BPM Partners, many enterprises still rely on an outdated approach where data is stored in disparate silos that cannot link up and talk to each other. This causes data to be unreliable. All too often, the ‘go to’ solution to this is utilizing platforms such as Excel – a time-consuming and largely unimpactful task for financial teams to undertake – and even then, data is still not 100% reliable.
The risk of human error, an inability to edit data collaboratively (at the same time), and a lack of intelligent insights are reasons that the use of spreadsheets for consolidation leaves a lot to be desired. Instead, organizations should be looking for a unified solution that provides a single version of the truth. Data is no longer siloed across multiple locations, meaning it can be appropriately utilized to offer valuable strategic insight in financial planning and forecasting.
This can be seen in greater detail in our Laerdal Medical Group case study. Laerdal required a solution capable of unifying different processes (including analytics, planning, reporting, and forecasting) in a single environment. The value gained from this solution enabled a transformation across financial and non-financial processes, led by the needs of decision-makers within the group.
The right solution is not limited by its users. Each member of an organization has a part to play; finance is not the only area that can (and will) benefit from a unified platform that returns transparent data and analysis.
This necessitates a platform that can:
In the same vein, as an organization scales up – growing and advancing within its market(s) – so too should the software solution leading its financial consolidation, BI, and Corporate Performance Management activities.
Scalability, as noted above, is paramount – the platform must support this at an enterprise level. Not only this, it must always maintain a high-performance output alongside its ability to scale up. For example, reports must render in seconds in easy-to-use, accessible dashboards. Data entry must likewise be an easy, rapid task, even when thousands of people simultaneously do these things.
With the right solution, scalability and high performance are possible – they can go hand-in-hand.
The benefits of a modern financial consolidation platform are far-reaching. BPM Partners expand on these points and more in their recently published whitepaper, which aims to help organizations “develop an extensive, multi-faceted vision of [their] financial consolidation process that reaches across departments and embodies high expectations.”
Download the whitepaper now and discover:
BPM Partners discuss the 10 factors they believe organizations need in order to achieve next-level financial consolidation.