Financial-Reporting Tools Are Too Important to Be Left Only to the Finance Team

In all organizations, the finance function needs to produce specialized reports and analytics. Often referred to as “board books,” “management packs,” or similar wording, these reports include highly formatted financial statements and key management information such as actual / budget / variance analysis. Executives, managers, and users also expect these analytics to be available online for ad-hoc query and analysis.

These reports and analytics require specialized tools that can handle the complexities of financial reporting—for example, the ability to interpret debits and credits, and handle financial statement layouts. Most general-purpose analytic tools struggle to satisfy these needs. As such, many data leaders consider financial reporting an application-centric activity, leaving selection, implementation, and management of specialized financial-reporting tools to the finance function.

Such an approach—although it can result in tactical successes—is shortsighted. Our data show that organizations of all sizes, ages, and in all industries consider financial-reporting tools important. Organizations rate the financial key performance indicators (KPIs) calculated by financial-reporting tools as the most important KPIs. Consequently, relegating such an important reporting capability to an application-centric data silo risks creating inconsistencies with other analytic capabilities. Those potential data discrepancies make it harder to create an enterprise-wide view of performance against financial targets and objectives.

Data leaders need to ensure they do not abdicate responsibility for financial-reporting tools to the finance function. These tools are too important to the organization as a whole to have their responsibility left solely to finance.

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