more-arw search

Q&A Forum

How Do I Get Out Of Extra Reporting For Our Founder?

 

"We have founder that requires their own set of accounts be used in reporting, so we must convert our P&L into those accounts. How do you suggest I get out of doing that double-work?"

This question was asked at a recent webinar, now available on-demand:

"Designing a Great Management P&L"

Please add your thoughts about it below. Thanks!

Answers

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Conceptually, this can be addressed by:
-making sure you know what the founder's reporting requirements are in detail; e.g. how GL account balances need to be grouped/aggregated; what non financial data is required as well (e.g. $ of Orders Booked this month; # New Customers; FTE headcount; total billable hours, etc etc.
-examining how you track transactions today in your system; e.g. how powerful is your Chart Of Accounts? Can you add reporting dimensions to make it easy to report Revenue by Line of Business, etc.
-defining an alternate reporting format that can use your core GL structure and include non financial data (if needed)
-designing reports that run automatically to create the founder's version.

What system are you using?
Does it contain the data that your founder needs?

Contact me if you want to talk more specifics.

Regards

Jim Barnet
Title: Director Sales & Marketing
Company: PROMYS PSA
LinkedIn Profile
(Director Sales & Marketing, PROMYS PSA) |

If you're doing "double the work" it implies that your existing business software can't give the CEO the reporting they want without you have to manually manipulate the data/information. The best way to get out of doing this work, is to have your business software do it for you, by allowing different reporting criteria for the same products/services.

Regards, Jim Barnet
www.promys.com

Grayham Hargreaves
Title: Business Analyst
Company: Johnston Press
(Business Analyst, Johnston Press) |

3rd party software such as Tagetik Analytics could be one way,
But surely this is only a simple job of creating a shipping log server and pushing the requested data into that from the main data source.....then manipulatling the data via your chosen platform..

Randall Bolten
Title: CEO
Company: Lucidity
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO, Lucidity) |

This question is a tough one -- it isn't always worth provoking a conflict with someone who's truly influential in the enterprise. However, here are a couple of suggestions:

1. NEGOTIATE. Talk to the demanding founder, and try to understand the issue from his/her perspective. Does the founder's preference come from a deep understanding and knowledge of the business, or is it simply that's what the founder wants because he/she is the founder? If the former, perhaps there is a compromise approach that addresses the founder's concerns and actually improves the quality of the reports.
(And as Len suggests, perhaps the differences can be addressed with additional metrics.)

2. GET HELP. Raise the issue with the CFO or (if you ARE the CFO) the CEO or (if it's politically practicable) the audit committee of the board. Two sets of ways of reporting exactly the same information is potentially destructive to the enterprise. It's extra work for the finance staff -- not only to generate the reports in the first place but to make sure that both reports stay in synch with each other. Perhaps even more important, it creates a "Tower of Babel" that interferes with the ability of managers across the company to communicate with each other using a "common language."

Randall Bolten
Title: CEO
Company: Lucidity
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO, Lucidity) |

I respectfully suggest that a couple of the comments in response to this question are going in the wrong direction. See my point #2 ("Get Help") in my original reply above. It's not just a question of making extra work for the finance team; it's not helpful to managers to give them two dueling ways of looking at exactly the same information.

The fact that you CAN generate multiple report formats, just because you have the software capabilities to do so, doesn't mean you SHOULD do that.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Randall,

I agree that if the founder wants separate reports that contradict how everyone else is monitoring performance and making decisions, that sounds like a recipe for conflict and double effort.

Without knowing more context, I would suggest the event questioner look at the requested reports possibly being "management reports" rather than "financial reports" as I have sometimes seen that all the "founder" wants is financials combined with operational metrics to provide some trends that the GL alone does not provide.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

A founder wanting financial data is good. In a perfect world, all senior managers should want details relating to their specific business and processes. This information will help them manage the success of the entity.

I strongly advise that you stay away from the manual route. Manual reporting allows for errors. Additionally, as Accounting data is revised post-reconciliation, your manual reports will not automatically update.

However, if you are forced to produce manual reports –
• Make sure the manual report has a specific name all can use to refer to it;
• Get in the habit of placing footnotes on the reports, i.e. name of who prepared and date;
• Establish a report priority. In the case of reports conflicting, which is the final word? I suggest your automated P&L is the final word.

Next, be prepared to produce a large quantity of analysis. You will begin to deal with questions such as – Why is this variable different on my Scorecard from the P&L? When I twist and turn the number one way, based on my exclusions and inclusions, I get a different answer. Why?

The desire for additional data is good. Ask yourself if this request is additional work or that your current reporting is not as robust as it should be.

Good luck.

Randall Bolten
Title: CEO
Company: Lucidity
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO, Lucidity) |

Regis, all of these are excellent comments. I especially like your last point -- if you are getting feedback about your reporting, listen to it and consider whether your reports could be improved. This is one area where silence is NOT golden.

950 views
Topics

Get Free Membership

By signing up, you will receive emails from Proformative regarding Proformative programs, events, community news and activity. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact Us.

Business Exchange

Browse the Business Exchange to find information, resources and peer reviews to help you select the right solution for your business.

Learn more

Contribute to Community

If you’re interested in learning more about contributing to your Proformative community, we have many ways for you to get involved. Please email content@proformative.com to learn more about becoming a speaker or contributing to the blogs/Q&A Forum.