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Webinar Video: Financial Consolidations & Reporting: Best Practices

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Corporate Financial Reporting WebinarFinancial consolidations and reporting are always top of mind. Improving these processes can make a huge impact on the value that finance and accounting offer across the enterprise. This webinar focuses on current and emerging trends in the technology available to ease the enormous challenges posed in effectively and accurately consolidating company financial results across business units and borders, and budgeting/forecasting for these entities. Can your current systems support the growth of your company? Are your systems robust in incorporating changes in response to regulatory changes and dynamic business conditions? What are the alternatives available to you? Insights in addressing these questions come from seasoned practitioners and experts on global financial consolidations and ERP and reporting systems designed specifically to meet the needs of companies that operate across borders.

This Corporate Financial Reporting webinar video is from the Proformative webinar "Financial Consolidations & Reporting: Best Practices" held on September 20, 2012.  The webinar features presentations from Mark Bauer, VP, Host Analytics and Mark Crowell, Corporate Manager of Finance, AT-PAC.


Corporate Financial Reporting Webinar


"We have a number of objectives we would like to reach today. And I'll let you take a quick look at those rather than reading through them. And we are looking forward to having you with us this morning, or this afternoon depending on your time zone to learn a lot more about today's topics.

And, getting us stared off on this, it's my pleasure to introduce Mark Bauer, who's the Vice President at Host Analytics. Mark comes to Host Analytics with 19 years of product management, technical sales, finance, and consulting experience. Most recently Mark was with Oracle where he led the team which was responsible for product management for the Oracle Business Intelligent Suite.

Prior to Oracle, Mark held various roles in product management and technical sales with Hyperion Solutions and Arbor Software.

Prior to working in the software space, Mark was responsible for finance, planning and analysis for a Pepsi bottling operation. Also, Mark held various positions with Anderson consulting working with a variety of clients in the consumer packaged goods and manufacturing industries.

So Mark, you have really lived this, and today you're here to share some of your knowledge with us. Thanks and welcome.

Mark: John, thanks. Just checking to make sure you can hear me okay?

John: I got you loud and clear here.

Mark: Great. So thanks everyone for joining. As John noted, my name's Mark Bauer. And I did spend a number of years at Pepsi doing the real work. Formally I was a part of the [FP&A] organization. As part of my responsibilities, I also participated in the monthly close process as well.

And after moving on from the classic finance role and in my current role, I spend time with Host Analytics prospects. Host Analytics customers. Understanding their business needs, what their pains are, and working to translate those into the product features that we offer in our product.

So, I appreciate you guys joining today and hopefully I can share with you guys a little bit about what we hear from our customers. Or what we see going on in the marketplace.

So let's start with just some perspective on what's going on in terms of companies and how they're going about doing their financial close today. And their ability to take advantage of technology for competitive advantage.

And don't spend too much time worried about the exact numbers here on this slide. I think we can all agree that there's always a desire for any organization to reduce the amount of time that it takes for them to close the books. It makes sense as finance professionals to identify opportunities, create the proper projects to shave time off of this close process.

Look at where you're spending time. You're spending time doing data input. Are you spending time doing specific processes like inter-company eliminations. Are you spending time doing reporting and distribution? Where is that time being spent and what is the opportunity to shave off time? And clearly, today, technology in today's marketplace plays a role in allowing us to drive that change.

We go from some larger number of days as a lesser performer to some much shorter period of time as we move toward world class. And this isn't something that happens overnight. It's not something that likely even happens over the course of a month. It's a journey that any organization goes upon.

And if you break this down into the various tasks, and based upon analysis of our customers and industry benchmarks, we found that a large amount of time is spent collecting and adjusting data. And because of this time investment, a very small amount of time gets spent doing the reporting and analysis.

The reason for this is that the systems have not traditionally been designed to facilitate this process in a faster manner. We always see a [disparate] data sources, different general ledgers, global organizations, speed of business increasing. And these all lead towards bottlenecks in the finance and accounting function.

If we look at one example within our business, we have seen a significant shift in the four past years of expectations from our customers. Four years ago customers were quite happy just having a flat filer and an Excel spreadsheet that they would use to load data with. And now the default expectation is automated data load and automated data feeds. So that's just one example of how our customers are working to shave off the amount of time in that collect data phase.

Now, and obviously the goal here is to shave each of those down and to make them much faster than what they see today. So our customers who have gotten towards this world class level have clearly recognized that it takes more than luck to make this happen.

Even here at Host Analytics, our CFO likes to demonstrate with our own examples of success. And she talks about three things that enable world class performance. It's people, process, and technology. Having the right people with the right skill set in the right position puts you on a path to be successful.

And also, defining the most efficient processes, based upon the proper best practices. And implementing these across the organization. Championing them throughout the organization. And developing evangelists. These are all characteristics that matter if you desire to really drive change.

And obviously, and finally, taking advantage of proper technology matters as well. So, this evolution clearly frees up time. Now, what you do with this extra time in any given period is what will allow you to stay world class.

Spending this time on projects, which you could not do in the past, is going to be key. So, doing operational analysis, benchmarking, process efficiency checks, growth analysis, lease versus buy decisions, any of the classic work that finance and accounting professionals do is what matters here. Take advantage of this extra time. This new time wisely.

And you're not going to be able to stay at that world class level unless you consistently work at it. You have to keep moving the business forward.

With that as an introduction, let's go ahead and transition into some of the more specifics and some of the ideas that we see with our customers who are moving towards world class.

So, if we think about these best practices, it's layers, right. So, there's a couple of themes in these eight best practices that I'm going to share with you. Process control and integrity control.

And I think that associated with each of these, and I noted, there's projects, effort and energy that has to be utilized in order to make this happen. So, in these subsequent slides, we'll talk about the specific best practices, as they relate to process control and integrity control to drive your organization forward.

So, as we work towards those, what are we really talking about here? What we're talking about here is, we'll talk about a simple example of a financial consolidation where you have a number of entities that you're looking to consolidate. Whether they're manufacturing operations, distribution facilities, various retail outlet outlets, sales and marketing offices, corporate administration, around the country, around the world and the systems that make up that environment. And even with a limited group of entities that you need to consolidate, there still exists some risky combination of complexity and velocity that we always have to be aware of.

And I say complexity because there's always a lot of rules to follow. And risks associated if those rules aren't followed. when you're doing your financial consolidation. Velocity, because there's always that need to compress the close process we've already discussed to get the information out as quickly as possible.

So, along with that, there's a general realization that an hour during the close process is much more valuable than taking an hour out of any other aspect of your month. Compressing that time clearly is key.

And so, in this example we'll start a discussion of best practices around the close cycle by addressing the need for this consolidation. This is a system that will not only facilitate the close cycle, the actual nuts and bolts of the financial statement reporting on a periodic basis, but we'll also interface with other areas of the organization such as the budgeting process, the forecasting process. Strategic analysis and what have you.

Editor's Note: Take a look at more recorded webinars from Proformative: Corporate Finance Cloud Technology Webinar, Corporate Performance Management Webinar, Job Interview Skills Webinar, Successful Job Interviews Webinar and Alternatives To QuickBooks & Spreadsheets Webinar.

If you think about legacy systems that were very narrowly focused and not necessarily optimally designed to support the close cycle, and the need to integrate these with the other activities across the organization.

So the key challenge has always been that we can't just aggregate data and be done with the process, because there's additional adjustments that need to be made to get to the consolidated information.

Adjustments such as eliminations, reconciliations. You need a system that can aggregate, analyze, adjust and report in a iterative manner. What we see with our customers is they generally come to us with some fairly consistent set of challenges. Some subset or all of these challenges. They're doing some manual data collection today, they've got a number of different currencies, they've got complex . . ."

End Partial: Corporate Financial Reporting Webinar

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