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The Four Types of Reporting in Finance

Semantics are everything and I find that the word ‘reporting’ means many things to many people. As a former controller, our finance customers often ask me: What does Oracle recommend for reporting? Such a simple question and yet not so simple answer. 

In finance we are expected to do more than report on the past, but guide the business forward. Solutions for reporting on the past are vastly different (by design) than predicting the future.

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Since semantics matter, let’s dig in. Digital finance leaders recognize the importance of meeting diverse stakeholder needs and have architected solutions fit for purpose. Not including planning, forecasting and modeling needs, there are four types of ‘reporting’ in finance each with a different set of requirements, consumers and data components. 

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Regulatory Reporting

Format, frequency and content are governed by external regulators and tax authorities. The role of the reporting solution is to combine, normalize and automate the close and disclosure process as fast as possible. Thousands of companies rely on Oracle EPM for this need and most have achieved world class results in compressing the close and consolidation process. 

Management Reporting

While this set of requirements may draw on data published to regulators, it goes far beyond the statutory requirements. When done properly, management reports should serve as a critical tool for guiding all aspects of business operations. Management Reporting must provide comparative perspectives, trend analysis and predictive insights. Digital finance teams have modernized this process beyond the book and into interactive dashboards. Oracle Essbase is the de-facto standard for Management Reporting as it provides financial intelligence, scenario modeling and a powerful multidimensional engine for combining many data sources. 

Enterprise Analytics

Like Management Reporting, this set of requirements is similar in that an integrated view is critical to decision making. However, Enterprise Analytics must provide a detailed view into operational metrics and provide operational managers self-service access to the data. Oracle Analytics Cloud combined with Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse is the best practice solution for these requirements. Oracle Analytics Cloud provides direct access to operational data in ADW, budget and forecast data in EPM Cloud and management in formation in Essbase. With built-in ML, analysts and managers can discover deeper patterns without having a PhD in data science. 

Over and above Oracle Analytics Cloud, we have built a suite of next generation, cloud-native analytic applications for Enterprise Analytics. Oracle Fusion Analytics Warehouse is tightly coupled and integrated with Fusion ERP and provides best practice KPI’s, dashboards and role-based security to simplify and automate core analytic processes. Unlike demos or dashboards of our competitors, these solutions are fully managed and supported by Oracle and provide high performant data pipelines on critical financial data. 

Operational Reporting

Insights into daily operations require reporting solutions to be embedded into core ERP processes. Reporting on daily cash balances, month-to-date project spend or accounts payable status means data must be accessible in real-time and atomic level. Put differently, there’s no time to persist the data into a downstream data warehouse. 

At Oracle, we have embedded Operational Reporting into our Oracle ERP SaaS applications and offer 100’s of out of the box views spanning GL, AP, AR and FA. With Fusion ERP, you have embedded virtual objects that can be accessed both in the application in context of a business process or directly from Oracle Analytics Cloud. No other vendor has this semantic integration between Operational Reporting and Enterprise Analytics. 

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