Part 2-How Financial Information Is Used Throughout the Organization
Financial management information forms the foundation of business success. Organizations achieve better performance and planning when financial management data is measured precisely and then made available to decision-makers within and beyond the finance department.
In addition to enabling the essential bookkeeping functions, effectively managed financial management information enables organizations to plan, forecast, and track performance toward objectives. Financial management data can help keep individuals and teams focused on tasks that add high value, while providing the information needed to enhance collaboration.
Ideally, financial information is used throughout an organization. Executives need relevant financial information to guide decisions about profitability and strategic initiatives. Managers analyze and share information to help ensure that business processes are running smoothly, and employees share information about specific projects.
Providing a “Single Truth”
A financial management solution that is tightly integrated with all relevant data sources within an organization makes a significant contribution to forecasting precision and worker productivity by creating “single truth”—a core data set upon which all reporting and analytics can be based. In the absence of an accepted core data set and a corresponding set of definitions that guide report creation, different departments can create incongruent figures supposedly describing the same financial profile. Without a single version of their data, organizations can spend too much time trying to reconcile conflicting data instead of forming the strategies that the data should be guiding.
Supporting Better Decision-Making
With access to financial information, organizations can make better, more informed business decisions. For a variety of people—top executives, product development leaders, analysts, and warehouse and plant managers—success can hinge on having ready access to the most current and complete financial data possible.
Integrating data from across the organization can yield rich insights that might otherwise remain obscured. Financial information gains even more value when it can be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis, or searched and categorized by integrated reporting applications.
As companies look toward longer-term planning, they’ll need data from the financial management solution to provide business insights and help guide strategy. Information from a unified data store can be queried and analyzed to help an organization identify opportunities for expansion and to identify and capitalize on market opportunities.
Organizations also draw value from their financial information, in part, by using it to generate reports. The better the reporting application and the larger the data store, the greater the value decision-makers can pull from the data. Reporting underscores the need to break down application and data silos and to deploy an integrated financial management solution that unifies information storage within a central relational database.
A reporting solution should provide the basic recurring reports such as inventory levels, monthly sales activity, and profit and loss statements, as well as support the ability to customize existing reports and create entirely new ones to better share relevant data across teams, product groups, and other entities. Creation of new reports should be supported with customizable templates or with report-making wizards.
Financial information should be easily exportable to productivity tools such as Excel and Word to simplify the use of data in spreadsheets, documents, and presentations. Organizations need to be able to share the information on the Web or from their intranet, giving security-enhanced access to the right information from any location
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