Writen by Stefan Farrugia • 18th July 2018
Financial consolidation software can take a company from a complex consolidation procedure, that uses multiple software packages with cumbersome excel templates, to a systemised process of error sources identification that can tackle these same errors at early stages.
The best financial consolidation software has some features that definitely cannot be skimped on. Going for the big move to start centralising consolidation requires a reassuring feeling that the right choice is being made. Human processes and other resources will need disrupting in the name of improvement, so making the right choice is very important.
Here are the 5 essential features for your financial consolidation software:
The smartest choice, in terms of software, is to ensure that you retain as much of your current systems and human processes as possible at branch or sub-company level. This will avoid extra spending ontraining and will allow you to keep your people happy with minorchanges to the day-to-day operations. You can focus on only making changes which apply to the final consolidation. By not changing the accounting packages at source, there will be less disruption and staff is more likely to accept and adapt to the minor changes that in actual fact affect the overall inter-company consolidation process.
No matter what system or software you choose to adopt, always go for visibility. The more reports and systems you have visibility of within the software, and the group structure, the more likely your consolidation will runsmoothly. As CFO, you are likely to be able to pinpoint mistakes before double checking the data, simply by running reports. This is key to early error detection and should be one of your priorities when selecting the right consolidation software.
Visualising data can be very useful to spot patterns that are emerging in yourdata and should not be overlooked. These patterns can often reveal underlying details that can be investigated. They can help you optimise your group’s performance and assist in tracking unwelcome loops in the business.
Having all data centralised in one place is key to a smooth consolidation. A cloud solution is great for this because it allows every accountant to upload accounts and process them according to a centrally agreed process. Accountants and data entry executives should have different tiers of access based on their roles for company data privacy purposes.
The chosen software needs to be scalable. Groups grow and shrink all the time, and when a group has an acquisition strategy, a fast growth rate is inevitable. Things can get out of hand if you do not have software that allows you to integrate new companies in a timely and efficient manner!