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How Can You Improve Your Financial Reporting Process?

With financial data being key to business analysis and performance, ensuring all reports are fully accurate and as streamlined as possible can be overwhelming. As your business grows over time, the financial reporting process will only become more complex. This is why it’s so important to improve your financial reporting process early on to avoid any problems further down the line.
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Improve your overall workflow

Improving your workflows will help you to improve your financial reporting process. Ensure that each team member has a clear idea of their responsibilities and the time frames in which they need to carry them out. 

It can often help to write down or visualise your workflow for anyone in the team to look back on when needed. Having a defined, structured workflow in place helps to avoid mix ups and identifies areas for improvement.

How to improve your financial reporting process 

Financial data is key for in-depth insights into your business performance and enables you to pull together financial reports that can help forecast and make better-informed business decisions. However, as companies aggregate more data, financial reporting can quickly become headache-inducing if the right systems aren’t in place. 

Some of the most common challenges companies face with financial reporting include:

  • Verifying the financial data collected
  • Gathering and preparing data from multiple systems
  • Affording the technology and resources required
  • Handling new regulations or external audits
  • We’ve pulled together some key ways to improve your financial reporting process:

Standardise information collection 

Consistency is key when it comes to accurate data and simplifying the process. Start by creating templates that enable different sets of financial data to be stored in a consistent structure. The collection process should remain the same and so the templates should work for all forms of data. 

Keep information and data organised

Organisation is what safeguards against inaccurate data or struggling to find the information you need. You can organise your data in the following ways:

  • Build datasets that can be managed through tagging, filters and other metadata to make it easy to navigate what you need.
  • Develop financial report templates that can be used across your business.
  • Preserve data integrity by applying permissions to limit who can view and edit sensitive documents.
  • Consolidated financial statements include the income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet all in one place, making it easy to access organised data.

Automate time-consuming tasks

Using the right financial reporting software, reporting is a breeze with time-consuming tasks fully automated. For example, finance teams can benefit from the following:

  • Having all financial data in one place without having to manually add to a spreadsheet that’s already bursting at the seams. 
  • Data can all be automatically consolidated into various groups.
  • Reports can be produced at the click of a button.

Collaborate across departments 

Working together as an organisation rather than independently not only encourages transparency, but also saves a great deal of time. Cultivating a shared financial reporting environment allows users to work simultaneously, not one at a time. Using a single shared live document eliminates the need for multiple versions and prevents any miscommunication.

Keep all final reports in one location 

Streamlining the reporting processes is so important to avoid wasted time or an overwhelming amount of data. Create one place for the financial reporting team to store information. Keep final reports for certain time periods in easy-to-find folders so that teams can easily go and find them when they need source information. 

How can you ensure accuracy in financial reporting? 

To produce accurate financial reports, the initial data collected needs to be accurate from the very beginning. The data entry stages are vitally important and if the information is incorrect, it’ll produce inaccurate financial reports. Automated data entry and regular cross-checking can help promote accurate financial data.

Some other methods that support accurate financial reporting include:

  • Account reconciliation — comparing external records such as invoices, bank statements and credit card statements with internal accounting records is a great way to ensure accuracy. This should be done on a regular basis. 
  • Scanning for errors — regularly check balance sheets for obvious errors and the monthly cost of goods sold as sales vary each month. 
  • Supervising — even if you’ve hired a professional financial team, regularly supervising their work and asking for updates will increase their responsibility and the importance they place on their role.
  • Regular auditing — regularly reviewing accounts and financial statements with your team means that no errors slide by without being corrected. 

Financial reporting doesn’t need to be an arduous process that is a consistent pain point for your business. Following our tips above will help you greatly improve the data collection and reporting process. Financial reporting software is designed to provide you with quick, easy and accurate insights from your financial data. With an easy-to-use interface and user-friendly reports, it’s a great way to streamline the process, with everything in one place. 

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