Bridging the gap between data analysts and the finance department

New alternatives for automated information consolidation lengthen the attain of economic reviews and analytics. However will it’s sufficient for CFOs?


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Once I was a CIO, no division demanded extra information than finance. Finance had a workforce of economic analysts who manipulated information into myriad spreadsheets and reviews—and a demanding CFO who would at all times need extra information.

Monetary analysts and CFOs had been onerous to please. They needed every day, weekly, month-to-month and quarterly reviews, in addition to information for threat assessments and what-if state of affairs analyses. Finance used troves of reviews to extract the knowledge that it needed to see—however it by no means appeared to be sufficient.

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“The first problem CFOs face is not one in every of lack of entry to reviews,” stated Didi Gurfinkel, CEO and co-founder of DataRails, an automator of economic processes and reviews. “CFOs can (ultimately) get the knowledge and reviews they should make monetary selections, construct fashions, produce administration reviews, and so forth. The larger concern is the cumbersome course of in producing these reviews.”

That cumbersome handbook course of entails a full employees of economic analysts who cull monetary information from programs that vary from ERP and the final ledger to CRM and gross sales. Information from every system is reviewed every day, and sooner or later, the info from these programs have to be hand-aggregated and constructed right into a spreadsheet that’s able to answering commonplace and non-standard questions.

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“Once they use that course of, what CFOs, monetary analysts and enterprise leaders lack is full, unimpeded entry to consolidated reviews and having all of the accessible insights from the info at their fingertips,” Gurfinkel stated.

That is the place analytics instruments like dashboards and drill-downs start to make sense. They make the info a lot simpler to navigate and, extra importantly, to study from in a well timed method.

Nevertheless, to reach at this level, information from a number of programs should first be consolidated right into a central database—and this work shouldn’t be accomplished manually by a monetary analyst manipulating a spreadsheet. As a substitute, the info consolidation may be accomplished with system automation. This protects monetary analysts time, reduces the potential for human error and produces quicker instances to marketplace for reviews. The tip result’s a dashboard that summarizes information and that offers you drill-down functionality into the main points. This allows finance to create quite a few reviews and situations with information that can assist it meet its insatiable want for data.

Gurfinkel talked about a use case by which an organization’s finance division spent hours of labor consolidating monetary data from a number of information sources manually. Info from QuickBooks was exported into Excel spreadsheets after which reconciled, which required tedious work. Afterward, finance would undergo hours of modifying to make sure accuracy and put together the knowledge for firm and government use. By switching to automated information consolidation, the employees was in a position to see on the spot model comparisons and generate reviews by a single interactive and consolidated platform. “They now save over 15 hours every week, time that was as soon as spent on time-consuming, handbook processes,” Gurfinkel stated.

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This does not remedy all of finance’s reporting wants. However information consolidation and automation that help analytics can deliver collectively extra information from numerous sources quicker and save worker time whereas doing it. The method additionally makes finance extra self-sufficient from an IT perspective.

Nevertheless, “A principal problem while you recommend automated information consolidation is the willingness of corporations to take the leap of religion. That is comprehensible as a result of monetary executives who’ve been crunching numbers and producing reviews manually by way of spreadsheets for many years understandably are not looking for the entire system to vary dramatically in a brief time frame,” Gurfinkel stated.

That is a motive IT and different expertise leaders have to be cognizant of enterprise course of change (and resistance) once they attempt to implement automation for analytics.

As with most analytics and automation efforts, finance have to be integrally concerned within the undertaking, and be the determiner of the way it desires its enterprise processes to vary so as to benefit from automation.

“With the assistance of automation, information consolidation is a method of revolutionizing the way in which finance does enterprise, with far-reaching implications for the corporate; nonetheless, the implementation is essential to a profitable digital transition,” Gurfinkel stated.

I would second that, including {that a} profitable implementation will depend on IT and finance shepherding the brand new course of into full acceptance within the enterprise, starting with the CFO.

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