10 reasons why your Board argues over the numbers

With your ERP firmly in place the misconception often follows that your data is fully integrated and all that’s needed for reporting is a simple download to Excel!  What starts as a simple proposition however can quickly become unruly or worse, untrustworthy.

To gain full Board confidence in the reports you are delivering, it’s time to look at the effort it takes your teams to create them and the amount of Excel that’s used to bind the data held in your CRM and ERP. Corporate Performance Management (CPM) reporting should be the glue that brings it all together.

Discover how are organisations CPM’s failing them, and 10 reasons that can spark arguments.

1.  Lack of accuracy

Your finance team spends time busily collating and cleaning data from across the organisation.  Once cleaned and uploaded the data sits in a spreadsheet.  As stand-alone and open silos of data, it is prone to the invisible hand of rogue links and formulas which, if wrong, could have a major impact on business decisions. Boards need certainty on the source of their numbers.

2.  Time consuming

You have spent effort and a lot of money on your ERP, so it’s disappointing your team spends even more time in collating the data.  Let down with the reporting, the man hours you and your team spend preparing management packs is a cost to your business you would hope to overcome. Worse for Board confidence are reports that are served “just in time”.

3.  Lack of pipeline/demand planning

Some cloud ERP’s nicely combine resourcing within their core job management functionality, but there are still lots of Excel charts and "hand balling" of date data as project managers attempt to match resource need to supply, and execute decisions such as whether or not to bring on a freelancer. All Boards will argue about headcount costs, but are you proving that capacity and utilisation are maximised.

4.  Out of date budgets

Budgeting never stops. Most budgets are out of date by the time they reach sign off.  As soon as your data is downloaded into a spreadsheet it is dated, and budgets are signed off against static rather than fluid data. Rapidly delivered rolling forecasts can compensate and impress the Board.

5.  Lack of agility

With spreadsheets and hours of manual labour to maintain them, businesses are simply not getting the right data at the right time.  Agility within the business is lost and important decisions are deferred. Boards are demanding ever more detail, and FD’s constantly challenged to produce, analyse, make sense of and deliver it.

6.  Disparate global offices/multiple business units

Often these offices are on different accounting / ERP systems.  Even if all the offices are using the same system, the data may not be on the same database. Downloading data into spreadsheets to join it up at group level immediately renders the data unreliable and untrustworthy. Board’s need certainty that exchange risk is adequately reflected and correct accounting adjustments made – typically beyond even the most sophisticated spreadsheets.

7.  Uninformed estimating

Profit on client projects may not be as big as it used to be, and you need to access the data from across the business, such as costs and resourcing, to understand what leverage you still have over your margins.  However teams still using Excel templates to calculate new job pricing, potentially containing old rates or omitting important lines can mean the difference between job profitability and loss. Spreadsheets provide no control over what goes out to the client. Boards are aware and perpetually frustrated by this.

8.  Unable to support growth

For any business with growth at the top of the agenda, getting the right data to the right people at the right time is imperative.  Without a business system connected or integrated with your CPM, all forward planning assumptions are based on sand. Boards want to endorse strategy through an integrated modelling of the impact of acquiring to expand and looking to absorb new businesses.

9.  No common language

With data coming in from a number of sources, it’s important that data is reflected in a common “language” relative to the company’s financial standards regime for open discussions to take place and decisions to be made.  Present the Board with a seamlessly translated view, or risk letting them interpret it as they think best.

10.  Absence of accountability

Depending on spreadsheets can create an environment of unaccountability.  Changes made in spreadsheets aren’t traceable back to the originator. Data becomes untrustworthy, and an all-round loss of confidence is the result. A lot of Board arguments can be avoided through the “one source of the truth” not being interfered with as it progresses to the top table.

A CPM system can be the catalyst for a truly agile business.  They can deliver seamless management reporting, scenario planning and analysis, workforce planning, budgeting and much more.

Supporting the management processes that enables your Board to discuss, debate and decide what they want to do and how they will do it, should be at the heart of what you do.

Empowering Boards to anticipate change, plan with impact, execute with full confidence in the numbers, and without argument, is an essential responsibility of all business systems owners and administrators.

Agency DNA are CPM system specialists. Partnered with BizView we are creating stronger foundations for businesses to collate, analyse and report numbers across an increasingly wide range of industries and disciplines.

To find out more or how Agency DNA can help you, call us on 020 3394 0046 or email us info@agencydna.com.