The terms financial reporting and MS Office used together often evoke cumbersome, time-consuming and frustrating tasks. The good news is that the right tools can make automated financial reporting and consolidation possible, bringing it into MS Office documents.
Current hurdles to automate financial reporting with MS Office
MS Office is widely used across all areas of the finance department and Word, Excel or PowerPoint are used daily. Nevertheless, employees are still repeating low-value and time-consuming tasks that could be automated. Moreover, repeated changes in the underlying data, consistency problems among reports, slide decks and briefing books, formatting changes with additional content, and so on, don’t make things easier.
Besides, technical aids usually focus on single aspects, be it either bringing data into Excel spreadsheets, linking Excel to PowerPoint, support for formatting in Word, or producing XBRL output.
Because of its versatility to import data, Excel is still the most popular tool for financial reporting. However, tasks such as formatting tables and graphs or checking that formulas are correct still take up excessive amounts of time. Furthermore, managing spreadsheets full of data always entails a risk of error. Accordingly, it might be time to upgrade to a CPM solution with an Excel reporting add-in that offers:
- Transformations in a secure and fully audited system.
- Direct data transfer into the CPM system, requiring no manual manipulation and thus ensuring accuracy and consistent information.
- OLAP cube for fast data analysis by dimensions.
- Reports built and tested during implementation, so that there is no need for double checking.
Word and iXBRL reporting
Finance teams are also responsible for creating and publishing financial reports. Hence, choosing a CPM solution with a Word add-in for text management and with the ability to produce inline XBRL reports that are compliant with current ESEF standards can help as follows:
- Predefined templates for fast data collection and easy compilation.
- Possibility of sharing collaborative and secured notes.
- Import and validation of data from a single platform for all types of statements and reporting.
- Easy conversion of data to iXBRL with updated taxonomies.
Successful automation for financial reporting with MS Office
True automation of financial statement reporting involves the combination of different aspects:
- Link the different output formats to a central database, so that changes in the source data will automatically update the consolidated data.
- Ensure direct updates of the same figure across all documents for real-time data display.
- Show detailed context information to identify the source of the embedded information, so that all changes can be directly traced to the source.
- Have a single version of each document to work on.
In short, with the right financial automation tools, the numbers across all your company’s documents will always be consistent, guaranteeing the validity, compliance with pre-defined processes and quality of data from import to final validation. Moreover, choosing to automate financial reporting also means streamlining your consolidation process, saving time and resources that can be devoted to other added-value tasks.
If you are struggling with financial reporting, discover Talentia’s powerful CPM solution and increase the value of your financial data!