Historically, “doing the books” in a business was majorly a manual job relying on lots of paper documents, spreadsheets and a pen or pencil to record the company’s essential financial information for either quarterly or end of year reports.
Today (while some businesses still rely on the archaic mode of financial reporting), digital technology has changed much of this process and the challenge now is dealing with the mass of choice you have when it comes to choosing the right software for financial reporting.
Choosing the right software for financial reporting can make or break your accounting function.
Get it right and you end up with a streamlined and efficient system, working to make your finance team more productive and happier in their job. Get it wrong, and you risk not only not improving your current processes, but potentially risk making things worse.
In this blog, we look at some of the essential considerations you should keep in mind for your financial reporting software.
Accounting has moved far beyond the traditional back-office function it is often labelled as. Today, largely driven by client expectations, accountants must be more flexible and mobile with their working, often working from client offices or at least having the ability to work on documents while “on the road”.
Using cloud-based accounting software your teams can access documents and information from anywhere with internet access, meaning you’re not reliant on them being in the office to get their work done.
As well as allowing your teams to work from anywhere, your financial reporting software should also enable them to do this while still collaborating with the rest of the team and not leaving them working in isolation.
Allowing teams to work on the same documents at the same time removes silos across your business and ensures everyone is working towards the same results.
You can make the process of reporting much easier and quicker, whilst removing the risks of employees working on the wrong version of documents, or accidentally overriding previous work.
Can you easily import data?
If you’re moving onto a digital accounting platform for the first time, chances are you have a lot of data that needs to be imported into the system. Even if you’ve had your software for a while, importing data remains an ongoing task as you move through the year.
The best accounting software should allow you to bring your trial balance and transactional data into the system from any ledger, whether through Excel or a direct GL interface.
Once the data is imported, you should be able to easily match GL codes to the disclosure framework and simply populate key information (director names, registered address) etc to build your financial statements.
Produce consistent accuracy
Reporting accuracy is a business critical function that your accounting software should help you with. This is particularly important now given recent changes to reporting standards and the introduction of requirements like IFRS 9 & 15.
Your accounting and reporting software should help provide this level of accuracy across the business by automatically tagging items and content and flagging when information is missing – and making it easy to add additional information or supporting evidence during the reporting process.
Efficient, reliable, collaborative and compliant
Ultimately your accounting software should be making your finance and accounting teams and more efficient and productive while allowing them the freedom to complete tasks from anywhere and work collaboratively as part of a mobile team.
Your software should also be taking the risks of compliance out of the reporting process, making it simple to create new reporting templates, or edit existing ones while ensuring data entry is easy and making it possible to add additional supporting evidence with no friction.
Any accounting and reporting software which fails to do these things is failing your firm, and it could be time to look around.
If you’re still not sure about accounting software or whether you could benefit, download our How to Digitally Future Proof your Accounting Practice for more info.