Systems & Reporting – Made Easy
Naresh Sakhrani, Principal on the East Coast, is a Sydney-based CFO with extensive experience in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, media, online and professional services. Here at The CFO Centre, we interviewed Naresh to delve into his knowledge around Systems & Reporting…
What is the definition of “Systems & Reporting”?
Reporting of information is a critical process in any organization. Information is used to let stakeholders know about their financials (P&L and Balance Sheet). They also use it to make good decision based on detailed analysis which zooms into their financials.
The reporting is complicated, and it often involves detailed financial analysis on sales and costs.
Those detailed analysis that are involved in management reporting include customers & products’ margins, mini P&L per product or per region or KPIs.
The CFO needs to treat the information as harvestable data which can be summarized and interpreted using strong accounting systems which sometimes include a Business Intelligence tool.
What is the difference between a Standard Accounting System and an Accounting System including Business Intelligence?
A standard accounting system will let you book your invoices and have visibility to your Company’s P&L and Balance Sheet.
An accounting system which includes Business Intelligence will let you zoom into your Sales and Costs and Slice and Dice your financials into every angle possible in order to make some important decisions about your customers, products or regions.
Why is Reporting & Systems important to all business owners?
From my own experience in the business environment, and from the clients we work with, I know business owners have a very high visibility of their customers and products, but they often do not have a detailed visibility of their sales and costs.
If all financials are broken down into customers, products and region, it enables the business owners to focus on customers or products which are less profitable and make some changes along the way in order to improve the overall margins of the company.
Do you have any tips or insights for owners / managers for introducing a good accounting & reporting system into their business?
I suggest that an external facilitator is used in the process who can guide the owner / managers, keep them accountable, challenge them, and assist in the formulation of implementing the best accounting system which will match all requirements from their business.
For example, our CFOs within The CFO Centre assist our clients with the Project Management process, from which a tender process will be implemented to select a couple of accounting systems. Demos will be scheduled with the different vendors in order to have a visibility on the capabilities of the systems and mostly the reporting.
Whilst it’s a good thing to challenge ourselves and evolve, make sure the Accounting System will give you good reports for your business.
Ensure your resources can be available for the different steps of the implementation: workshop on capturing all requirements from your teams, training, testing all modules before Go Live, administration and support.
After using the system for a couple of months, it is really important to make some improvements and fine-tune the system to match your exact requirements.
The ultimate outcome is to achieve fully-automated (scheduled reports which are sent automatically to business owners without any manual intervention) reporting which has been customised to fit your business.
At The CFO Centre we often introduce and chair the monthly management meeting for our clients, covering the strategic, financial and operational matters of the business. Our clients find it an effective way to keep on track and to hear from their part-time CFO as to how the reporting based on financial performance translates into decision making.
Lastly, I encourage business owners and managers to make the time for Reporting and Systems as it will pay dividends (figuratively and literally). One must be open to the Systems implementation, Reporting process changes and enjoy the journey!