Analytics has long been a core discipline of Finance, applied to analysis of balance sheets, income statements and cash-flow statements. However, as I’ve noted, most finance departments have not kept up with recent advances. Our recent research in finance analytics shows that few organizations are realizing the potential of more advanced analytic methods and tools such as predictive analytics and driver-based modeling. One reason for this sluggishness is that they have not looked past yesterday’s requirements to see what possible. Another is that they are distracted by the difficulties they face in simply doing tried-and-true analysis, which is the result of difficulties in accessing the necessary data and inadequate tools. A third reason is that people receive too little training in the application of analytics to business and the use of more advanced analytic tools and methods.
I have commented before on the movement to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the United States to replace US-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Most recently I discussed the drive to harmonize the significant differences between US-GAAP and IFRS on revenue recognition and lease accounting. To those who are interested in but not intimately involved with the subject, I suspect the current situation is a bit confusing, since there are multiple groups involved in the discussions on how best to proceed, each with its own agenda. The full adoption issue remains in flux, but let me weigh in the matter.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), Consolidation, Financial Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), financial standards, FPM, IFRS, Reporting, US-GAAP accounting, XBRL, audit
While Europeans have long had to adapt to working in many languages, currencies and legal jurisdictions, a generation ago most midsize companies in the United States did all their business in their home country and in U.S. dollars. Today, though, the relentless globalization of the world economy means that an increasing number of midsize companies in North America are functionally multinational and face the challenges of managing a more complex and demanding accounting and financial management function.
Intacct, which offers cloud-based accounting software for small and smaller midsize companies is starting to put more emphasis on addressing the needs of project-oriented, professional services businesses. One of the challenges that these companies face is getting their accounting systems to support their business at a functional level. To be sure, any ERP system can account for projects, in the sense that they can aggregate labor and material costs attributed in some subcategory such as "new building" or "annual conference." However, unless they are built from the ground up to support businesses that revolve around projects, people in the finance department will wind up wasting time doing workarounds to overcome the system's deficiencies and companies will need to invest in adapting the system to offer the process support they need to perform routine business tasks. A lot of those workarounds will involve desktop spreadsheets which means there will be errors that will also take time to address and impose needless costs to the business.