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The Future of Financial Reporting: Insights from the FSN Modern Finance Forum on LinkedIn

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Financial reporting is a window into the corporate center, providing internal and external stakeholders with their most regular, thorough and visible perspective of a company’s financial performance. A CFO’s reputation rests on delivering accurate and timely financial reports, because despite the raft of new strategic responsibilities they are taking on, financial stewardship remains the cornerstone of their role. The ability to close the books, consolidate group results and publish statutory accounts and insightful management accounts in ever decreasing timescales is widely regarded as a good proxy for good corporate governance, a ‘tight ship’ and a competent finance team.

In the main, statutory reports are delivered on time, board reporting packs inform directors sufficiently and business continues as usual. But FSN’s survey of almost 1000 CFOs and senior finance professionals has exposed the less than solid foundations on which the financial reporting process is built. Across the process there are inefficiencies, inexpert fixes, delays and lax controls that cause CFOs sleepless nights and force them and their teams to spend untold hours manually checking and ensuring the veracity of the reports. Over half of respondents said reporting involves huge amounts of manual checking every time a change is made, and 60% believe they spend too much time cleaning and manipulating data. Their willingness to burn the ‘midnight oil’ to ensure the financial reports are delivered accurately and on time is admirable, but it isn’t sustainable.

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