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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

What is the Other “R” in ERP?

Guest Author

By Steve Cox, Vice President, Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud Go-to-Market

Raise your hands: How many of you know what “ERP” stands for?

If you said “enterprise resource planning,” you’d be right—but you’d also be missing something.

There’s a hidden “R” in ERP, and it stands for “reporting”—because without accurate, trustworthy reports, even the best finance systems are useless.

As I recently wrote in FEI Daily, reporting solutions are often a menagerie of applications from a myriad of software companies with disparate integrations, complex execution, and loose data alignment. The equation is simply too much data + too much complexity + too many solutions. At the end of the day, the math generates too little trust.

In its recent research, “Are You Prepared for Corporate Reporting’s Perfect Storm?” global consulting firm EY surveyed 1,000 participants—including CFOs and heads of reporting—to understand their challenges. Broadly speaking, their pain points fell into three categories:

  • Growing compliance requirements: 48% must address 10 or more reporting standards, while 24% deal with 16 or more requirements.
  • More and more reports: 63% noted that reporting requirements are increasing. 71% are experiencing increases in the total number of reports generated.
  • Too many reporting systems: Globally, 32% of respondents had 16 or more reporting systems. In North America alone, 19% of companies have 20 or more systems.

The intersection of reporting complexity and the plethora of available solutions does not generate a pretty picture. Truth be told, it is quite ugly. And with the introduction of new revenue recognition guidelines and country by country reporting requirements, the EY study predicts that the picture will continue to get more complicated and demanding.

Learn about the reporting revolution at the Modern Finance Experience in Boston, April 11-13, 2017. Register now.

It’s time for a revolution that usurps this complicated paradigm that has gripped a half-century of enterprise reporting.

5 Steps to Revolutionize Your Reports

How does a company embrace the “reporting revolution”? Take these five steps to start your journey for a new reporting experience.

1. Analyze Your Current Reporting

Start with a complete assessment and inventory. Look at the multitude of reports you generate today. Yes, the volume will seem overwhelming. Yet there are principles that we can use to simplify all this complexity. Nearly all corporate reports fall into one of three categories:

  1. Operational reporting
  2. Finance and regulatory reporting
  3. Management reporting

Your reporting revolution starts by putting your reports into these buckets. Examine the processes and systems that underpin each, and then move onto Step 2: standardizing your reporting approach across all three categories.

2. Standardize Your Reporting with Modern Best Practice

Think of reporting as an integral part of your business processes, not as a secondary and disconnected afterthought. With Modern Best Practice, companies get reporting that is relevant, complete, and built into the underlying technology along every step of the process.

For example, consider period close to financial reporting. Following a published Modern Best Practice is an ideal way to verify, improve, and implement your own current processes. Don’t re-invent the wheel or pave the path from before; take advantage of the thousands of hours of global work represented and available in today’s Modern Best Practice.

3. Engage a Team that Understands the Reporting Revolution

Identify a solutions vendor and business partner that fully understands and appreciates the importance of reporting and analytics. To fully take advantage of this revolution, end-to-end solutions from a single vendor with global experience are critical.

You can no longer rely on a multitude of vendors delivering single or limited-purpose solutions to meet your needs. Vendors must meet all of your reporting needs and deliver the solutions for collecting and managing your data with a broad global perspective. It must be integrated and comprehensive, ready to go on Day 1.

4. Deploy Modern Cloud Technologies for Reporting

The cloud is already powering thousands of companies of all sizes—from start-ups to global enterprises. Learn more about the extensive benefits the cloud offers your company (and your career) as you establish your organization and yourself as a digital leader.

Leverage a solution built on the cloud and deployed with 21st-century tools that embrace mobility, the Internet of Things, social collaboration, and embedded analytics, the foundation for the reporting revolution.

5. Embrace Integrated and Comprehensive Reporting Solutions

With a broad cloud infrastructure from a global solutions provider, you’ll be able to deploy and connect configurable reports to your applications across all business units. The result is a modern environment built upon a common data schema that responds in real-time; not a bolt-on afterthought or future phase project that lingers with data mapping mistakes and painful data extractions.

Why Join the Reporting Revolution?

Practically, what does the reporting revolution mean to your company, and specifically to the roles of CFOs and other finance managers?

On its surface, the revolution might seem more appealing to your tech team (fewer integrations and systems translate to significantly less work), but it offers much more for financial professionals.

Consider how the reporting revolution frees you from the pitfalls and errors of manual spreadsheets and the manual effort of reconciling data. It also helps you stay current with new standards and requirements across the globe, which continue to evolve at a dizzying pace regardless of geography.

But perhaps best of all, the reporting revolution gives finance professionals a peace of mind only possible when you are confident that your reports and analysis are accurate, complete, and timely. Inherently, you trust your reports.

I urge you to join this revolution to liberate your company from the frustrations and complexity of today’s typical reporting scenarios. There may be resistance to change, but with the right team and a modern approach, you will transform your reporting from just a requirement to a critical business asset.

I invite you to learn more by visiting oracle.com/revolutionize-your-reports, and be sure to register for the Modern Finance Experience, where I’ll be speaking about this topic in greater detail.

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