Bruce recently participated in a Linkedin FSN online forum discussion on the following topic: “Once you have closed the monthly accounts, how much longer should it take to produce reports suitable for senior leaders?”
In general, the response from people was ‘as soon as possible‘. However, personal experience at a large multi-national suggested otherwise. There can sometimes be a disconnect between how quickly the finance team could deliver their reporting and how soon the plc-level Exec and Board actually needed their reporting.
Despite successfully completing a series of systems- and process-enhancing projects that resulted in the Group finance team being able to deliver faster reporting, the Exec and Board reporting timetable remained unchanged. Why? There’s no definitive answer, but two points are worth consideration:
1. Accelerated time lines are not the only (or the most important) benefit. Other key benefits include:
- More accurate reporting
- More time for review
- Freeing up staff from process in order to become better business partners
- The ability to perform ad-hoc work with no interruption to month-end processes
2. Perhaps their dis-interest in getting their reporting earlier is understandable if you take the view that the plc Exco and Board were happy that the underlying (and accountable) business heads were getting it earlier and running the business, freeing up the plc Exec and Board to detach itself from the ‘day-to-day’ in order to focus on longer term, higher level strategic issues. Just a thought….
Click here to follow the full online discussion.