Financial Data: Four Steps for Enabling a Single, Integrated View

Very few corporations have had the luxury of creating an enterprise reporting system from scratch. More typically, such systems develop by aggregation, with one piece bolted onto another as the company grows organically, makes acquisitions, adds new lines of business and enters new geographic markets.

Of course, as ERP systems extend to support expanding operations, it becomes more and more difficult to standardize reporting. One of the biggest problem areas is found in addressing discrepancies between internal and external reporting demands.  These difficulties are magnified as companies take on increasingly complex external reporting. Demands for comprehensive business unit and geographic segment reporting from organizations such as the International Financial Reporting Standards, U.S. GAAP and various tax regimes pull companies toward bolstering their external reporting functions.

At the same time, companies have significant needs for improving internal reporting.

Many companies find barriers such as legacy systems, inconsistently configured platforms, or a simple lack of integration across the organization blocking the way to better internal management reporting. These problems stand in the way of greater organizational efficiency, which is a key management objective for companies that have found organic growth hard to come by in recent years. Companies that need the ability to make quick, effective decisions about markets, products, customers and channels find themselves lacking the information to do so.

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