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By Vanaja Malem, Controller, Amzur Technologies

Doing business in any industry becomes more complex every day, which is why comprehensive and accurate financial reporting and analysis are more important than ever. In fact, I believe financial reports are now the cornerstone of any successful modern business.

If you’re in finance, you likely already know this—just like you know that “financial reporting” refers to the best practices for making sure relevant stakeholders have accurate information about the company’s performance. This can include income statements, balance sheets, cash flows, budgets versus actuals, and more, all of which let a company evaluate its cost and spend for planning, budgeting, and targeting the future.

What you may not realize, however, is just how much of an impact you can make by streamlining those processes. By improving your financial reporting, you also stand to gain:

  • Improved real-time trend analysis, allowing for faster decision-making.
  • Better debt management so the business can accurately gauge liquidity.
  • Financial efficiency by avoiding roadblocks and staying agile.
  • Clearer compliance and liability management.
  • More rapid progress toward your financial goals.

The Most Common Roadblock to Better Reporting

The biggest hurdles in financial reporting come from a tool many companies use every day: Microsoft Excel. Excel is a venerable application, its value having been proved over decades of use across multiple industries. You can see this in the nearly 70% of American small businesses that still use Excel as their main financial reporting tool, according to a 2018 report from Robert Half and the Financial Executives Research Foundation.

But what if I told you that Excel has cost companies millions and even billions of dollars over the years? These losses stem from two primary problems with Excel as a financial reporting tool:

  1. The hidden costs of manual data entry, review, and reporting. 
  2. The complex nature of building visual reports from that data.

How Manual Processes Interfere With Progress

Excel is well-known for producing errors, whether during data entry or when creating reports. When spreadsheets are used for financial reporting, the complexity of the data means those errors and miscalculations only become more rampant and costly. 

To combat this, many companies perform multiple rounds of reviews to ensure accuracy. But, because Excel can only create reports using static data (rather than dynamically updating real-time data), this review process must occur every single time a report is produced. 

Not exactly an agile process. It’s reviews like these that cost companies time and money, and that’s if the data is even correct—and digestible—in the first place. 

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Visual Reporting and the Other Big Problem

Many leaders within all types of organizations have grown accustomed to graphs, charts, and even dashboards that let them quickly and easily analyze the data they need to use to make important decisions. Excel, however, was not designed for this kind of reporting. Even tools and add-ons created to help with the process tend to be challenging to learn and use.

You’re probably starting to notice a trend, and it’s true: Excel was never intended to be used at the scale required for financial reporting at businesses of even modest size. As a result, many companies are struggling under an unnecessary burden, even if they don’t realize it—at best, Excel may be stifling your growth. At worst, you’re running the risk of costly errors.

A More Modern Solution for Tackling Financial Reports

Few systems provide the flexibility and customization to let you truly rely on the reports they produce. One that does is NetSuite, the leading cloud-based business management software. This dynamic platform provides much more than just a modern financial reporting experience. It also gives you:

  • Standard, easily customizable reports that can be securely accessed anywhere.
  • On-demand, real-time insights with dashboards and KPIs tailored to specific roles.
  • Intuitive tools that let you tailor required reports to highlight critical data.
  • Multidimensional reporting that enables real-time tracking and analysis of statistics and operational data.
  • The ability to quickly and accurately diagnose financial issues so stakeholders can make informed decisions.
  • Global support for both internationalization and localization, not to mention compliance.

Amzur trusts NetSuite so much that we’ve not only implemented the platform successfully for over 200 satisfied clients and developed our own suite of coding add-ons—we also use it internally to ensure our own financial reporting is fast, flexible, and accurate. That way, our leaders and stakeholders get dynamic, up-to-the-minute data in a comprehensive package so they can make better decisions faster.

If that sounds good—or if you’re just tired of wrestling with Excel—reach out to us today. We can integrate NetSuite seamlessly within your business, and we stick around afterward to make sure things go smoothly, too.