Most professionals complain of spending too much time doing tactical and administration work and neglecting the value-add duties. In the finance team, there is growing interest from the rest of the organization to provide more business advice, so there is a pressing need to adopt digital tools to automate processes, so instead of number crunching it can focus more on strategic tasks. A significant challenge for the finance team is selecting the right financial data analytics software, which integrates ERP financial transactions and customer interactions and fulfils expectations.

To help make the decision-making process easier, we recommend listing the finance administration tasks you most want to dump and then cross-check the capability in the software. Here are five ways you can free up your finance admin time by harnessing a digital tool like data analytics.

1. Democratize financial data

To change business practice and adopt new technology, the finance team needs to rethink how it manages its data and be open to sharing more information. By offering the whole organization governed access to financial data through an intuitive user-experience reduces the onus on the finance team. By letting the right people run the numbers, that are relevant to them, will reduce the requests for other reports and enable people to answer their questions. The finance team will continue to control the general ledger but will find it much simpler to provide branches, teams and regions with customized financial reporting and be free to take on a more significant financial adviser role.

2. Automate reporting

If you work on your business's finance team, you'll likely have a hectic workload at the month's end. For many organizations, the monthly static financial reporting process continues to be arduous, especially if it's still performed manually. It's a time-consuming process and relies mostly on transferring data from the ERP into spreadsheets, with lots of switching back and forth. The process is slow because every new reconciliation affects the numbers, making the static spreadsheet-based reports instantly out-of-date, forcing the regular creation of new versions.

For many, the process of preparing the data is a huge time waster and takes a lot away from analyzing the data. A digital solution integrating with your ERP and other data sources can help the accounting department to quickly create financial statements like the Income or Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet to match the nuances of your business or division.

3. Dynamic reporting

Financial controllers and CFOs will continue to liaise with the accounts payable and accounts receivable team to close the month; that part won't change when transitioning to dynamic reporting. Getting the data into the ERP will stay the same as well, but reporting that information out of the ERP will be very different.

In a dynamic report, the data is interactive. This way, any figure can be investigated, and answers found quickly so the team can be proactive and move decision-making forward. Dynamic reporting makes information accessible rather than locked away in spreadsheets or deep within legacy systems. Financial data analytics software that supports dynamic reporting will automatically pull the relevant information from the ERP and present it in a universally accessible format for business users to review, analyze and reference for performance management throughout the month.

4. Financial dashboards

A financial data analytics software comes with built-in visualization tools like financial dashboards. By using a dashboard to showcase the month-end financial reports will help more people in an organization to visualize financial data and KPIs in the form of charts or graphs. This way is more natural to uncover patterns, communicate insights, and make data-driven decisions.

5. Reduce time spent on Excel

We all know Excel is used widely in accounting teams, but despite its strengths, Excel doesn't always provide every solution a business needs. The more a company changes or grows, the more it generates data, so having a finance solution that integrates with an ERP has many benefits. Reducing the need to manage spreadsheets by putting financial data into data analytics software will help the finance team to breakdown, interpret, and utilize data. Excel struggles when it comes to handling complex data, thereby limiting a person's ability to identify insights.

Ideally, your financial statements solution will work in tandem with your business intelligence software and ERP to facilitate the sourcing and management of data. Phocas Financial Statements, for example, is an add-on to Phocas business intelligence software and integrates with a variety of top ERP systems such as InforEpicorMicrosoft, MYOBOracle and SAP.

To find out more about the new financial solution, watch this 35 minute video that includes an explanation from an in-house expert, a quick demo showcasing how it works and some feedback from early adopters.

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Tags: Business Intelligence Basics, Job Role - Finance, Job Role - Executive, Dynamic reporting, data analytics

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