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How to communicate financial information to increase accountability

4 mins to read
How to communicate financial information to increase accountability

The finance team has always turned to numbers to answer its questions. However, in today’s economic environment businesses need to act fast, which makes easy access to up-to-date financial performance critical. Many finance teams follow the traditional method of storing information in data silos. Introducing new technologies can therefore seem like a heavy lift. With the right financial software, communicating company financials to relevant stakeholders can be much easier than you think.

Financial statement analysis software allows customization of reports and regularly sharing information about revenue and profits, means more people can engage and invest in the development of a team's performance. Furthermore, having access to the business’s financial data shows leaders the outcomes of their strategies, making them more accountable for the execution of a strategy and demonstrating what works and what doesn’t.

Challenges of traditional financial reporting

Finance professionals have traditionally relied on Excel spreadsheets to manually consolidate and share financial information. While spreadsheets have their place, they often struggle to handle large data volumes and are prone to version control issues and human error. Therefore, it’s essential to support them with more robust and dynamic tools.

Getting ahead of the competition requires real-time understanding of performance, which spreadsheets alone cannot offer. Effective decision-making requires advanced digital solutions.

Remote working has also become an increasingly permanent aspect of business operations. Since finance teams spend most of their time on computers to create financial reports and analyze and process data, remote work hasn’t created too many obstacles. However, if they are reliant on the IT department to create reports, generate data queries, and extract necessary information from the ERP – communication of financial data will slow down significantly.

When finance do communicate insights to business leaders, board members or team members in the wider organization, additional queries and clarifications will come back to the finance team. For generating financial reports, the finance team has to coordinate with the IT team to build new templates and then login into the ERP multiple times to find data pertaining to a particular period.

This entire process can drain time and energy, leaving very little room for value-add analysis. Modern financial planning and analytics (FP&A) software is therefore key to business progress and survival.

Sharing financial results can be so much easier

Financial software is like an efficient assistant for your finance team, freeing them from manual number crunching and empowering them to freely explore data down to transactional level in just a few clicks. While ERP data remains under the tight control of the finance team, the software transforms how the finance team handles the output received from the ERP.

Financial dashboards allow the finance team to have a close eye on both financial and operational KPIs, such as profit for a quarter, variance from last week, and provide up-to-date expense numbers. This powerful data visualization feature allows the finance team to communicate numbers through a meaningful story that non-finance people can understand and act upon.

Phocas Financial Statements is a software solution that connects people to financial performance by providing a dynamic view of company financials. It helps those who want a deeper understanding of their income statements or financial statements through customizable reports. Phocas enables users to create dynamic reports by selecting their dimensions and measures in a secure and human-friendly software environment. It helps the finance team to explain company finance insights to people outside of the finance function, such as sales and operations. In doing so, people can understand the implications that their day-to-day decision-making can have on financial performance - making them more accountable and improving their business acumen.


Standardized designs make sharing data easy

The standardized design of interactive financial tools can differ depending on the region of operation. Phocas Financial Statements has addressed the different ways countries need to report by providing the user with the ability to customize reports to suit the local standards. Now that generating many different versions of the same statement can be automated, everyone can access and understand financial information. Helping to boost business performance and offer merit in using finance numbers in every department. When people understand profit and loss, cashflow implications, and depreciation/tax, it can help them make more informed decisions.

Companies that implement financial software and visual dashboards have several advantages:

  • Brevity: a clear message from the data
  • Clarity: When everyone uses the same data, the message becomes more evident as the meaning of the visual elements doesn't change.
  • Understanding: Visual charts help your audience quickly recognize and understand the numbers, resulting in faster action
  • Cost: Simple and intuitive tools save valuable time
  • Speed: Approved and customizable financial statements speed up the ability to make decisions.

Why sharing financial information benefits all

When the finance team can easily share accurate, up-to-date company financials in a format like dashboards that are easy to understand, the wider business becomes more connected with performance. 

This exchange of financial data does not require a meeting or ten pages of information. The collaboration feature in Phocas business intelligence is a great example of Departments can assess problems and opportunities from their unique perspective and share their ideas in a group discussion. Collaboration can be optimized with actionable data using modern business intelligence and FP&A software designed with a social media framework in mind to encourage employee engagement and communication regardless of where the person is based.

Ideally, your financial statements software will work smoothly alongside your business intelligence software and ERP to facilitate the sourcing and management of data. Phocas Financial Statements, for example, is a product that sits within the Phocas Business Planning and Analytics platform. The Financial Statements product is built on a BI foundation known as Phocas Analytics which pulls data directly from ERP systems such as Infor, Epicor, Microsoft, MYOB, Oracle and SAP, or any other source into one centralized platform. This consolidated data is then transformed into up-to-date statements that give you quick answers any time.

Written by Lindsay Harrison
Lindsay Harrison

Lindsay is an experienced writer with a passion for translating complex content into plain language. Specializing in the software industry, she explains the importance of data access and analysis for all businesspeople, not just the data experts.

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