Many don’t know what the process is costing and most still rely heavily on spreadsheets and emails
Inefficiencies in the financial reporting process at many UK organisations are causing increased costs and a loss of confidence, according to new research.
The survey, carried out jointly by Accenture and Oracle, found that over the last 12 months 80% of the UK companies surveyed had invested in financial reporting systems designed to improve their close, reporting and filing processes. Meanwhile, 58% have invested substantially in at least one of these three areas in that time, the survey said.
However many of these investments are carried out on an ad hoc basis, suggesting a lack of clear planning from some companies. This results in a lack of visibility, quality and confidence in their financial data.
This lack of confidence is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that despite these heavy investments, spreadsheets (86%) and emails (81%) are still being used to track and manage reporting on a daily basis. Accenture and Oracle suggest this means many investments are falling short of expectations.
These inefficiencies in the financial reporting process can result in increased costs in some cases. A worryingly large number (14%) said they have seen costs rise across the close, reporting and filing processes with 70% of UK finance professionals admitting they unable to identify the total cost of their financial reporting process.
Some respondents also reported their company had missed statutory filing deadlines due to confusion in the reporting process. This puts them at risk of fines, the survey said.
"It is clear from the report that businesses are well aware that financial reporting needs do change. The good news is that many are doing something positive about this by investing in new reporting systems. It seems however, that these investments are currently too piecemeal and sporadic to have had the desired effect," said John O’Rourke, vice president EPM product marketing at Oracle.
The survey was carried out by Dynamic Markets and spoke to 1,123 finance professionals in organisations with over 250 employees.