Proformative, the online resource for lessons, seminars, talks and other learning materials for professionals, has released a highly informative and effective webinar titled “Financial Consolidations & Reporting: Best Practices,” discussing financial consolidation and how the concepts therein can be applied to processes throughout a company, particularly the close.
Mark Bauer, President of Host Analytics, has nearly 20 years of product management experience, along with sales, finance, and consulting expertise. He also recently led a team at Oracle—a corporate software development company—that was responsible for managing the Oracle Business Intelligent Suite. He speaks about financial consolidation and how its principles can be applied throughout your company to improve performance and efficiency across the board.
Bauer opens his talk by discussing some of the questions that finance professionals should be asking about their organizations and clients—where is your company spending much of its time? Where can your company reduce time spent on tasks? Bauer brings up the idea of technology as an incredibly powerful tool in driving change and progress when it comes to how companies and organizations handle time-intensive tasks more efficiently.
For example, he discusses how users used to be satisfied with Excel-style spreadsheets, which would be manually loaded with relevant data and then organized according to that data. Now, users expect to have the capability to load data automatically into automated data feeds. This is one example of a way that users of software like that provided by Host Analytics are able to reduce the time spent simply collecting relevant data.
Driving “Real Change” In Your Organization
How do you go about creating more efficient, effective best practices for managing tasks throughout an organization? Bauer touches on a few factors championed by Host Analytics that can be applied to ambitious companies everywhere. He defines the operation as identifying efficient processes and practices, implementing them effectively across an organization, and consistently encouraging the use of those tasks across the board.
One way to do this is by implementing a document management software solution which will allow best practices, company policies, and organizational goals to be instantly available and sharable to employees all over the company. This availability increases collaboration and oversight and results in more efficient data sharing throughout your organization.
Another way to increase efficiency is through the use of effective financial consolidation.
What is financial consolidation?
Financial consolidation is the process of taking financial information from multiple departments and areas within your organization and combining the information for the purposes of accounting and reporting. Consolidation allows organizations to close more quickly, more efficiently, and more effectively. Collaboration across departments is critical in successful financial consolidation, with a lack of effective collaboration often resulting in a dramatically increased probability of mistakes.
Many consolidated financial statements are made through some sort of enterprise content management software that allows for easy collaboration, sharing, and secure storage.
Throughout his talk, Bauer stresses the importance of being willing to constantly evaluate and reevaluate which tasks your enterprise spends its time on and how those tasks are handled. Nothing should ever be done a certain way simply because that’s the way it’s been done in the past. Particularly with the rise of new technologies and automated methods of handling tasks, each department of your organization should be constantly evolving and finding new ways to shave off time spent on various concerns in order to have more time to spend on customers, clients, and other critical elements for the success of your business.
Consolidation and Close
The time when financial consolidation is the most critical, according to Bauer, is in your company’s close cycles. An hour of time here is more valuable than an hour removed from any other monthly process, so the ability to shave off time during the close is of the utmost importance. This is where financial consolidation becomes an important key to success.
Your organization needs a system that will allow for adjustments, one that can “aggregate, analyze, adjust, and report” in a format that can be recreated for each individual closing period. These are the challenges that an effective management tool like those provided by Host Analytics and other organizations like eFileCabinet can provide.