Are your financial statements being held up by the consolidation process?

2 min read
Nov 22, 2019 3:56:00 AM

Well-known problems – less well-known solutions

It’s year-end and hope springs eternal as you reckon on simply entering this year’s financial figures into last year’s Excel file.  Lo and behold: out comes your consolidated financial statement, and you can now look forward to your auditor dropping in for coffee and waving it through.

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But wait a moment.  Did you really design a well-constructed Excel template that is able to cope flexibly with all what has changed in the last year?

Or is your financial consolidation Excel template an unknown quantity created by your predecessor’s predecessor?  At the thought of all those links to the subsidiary companies’ Excel sheets and to the budget in the several different finance systems used across the group, do you just cross your fingers and hope for the best?

Don’t worry, you are not alone!

Well-known problems – less well-known solutions

The problems are well-known: staff turnover, opaque Excel programming, changes in the financial consolidation method following further acquisitions or sales, increasing complexity.  And of course – without going into too much detail at this point – once your business has reached a certain size, your auditor will no longer accept Excel-based annual consolidated financial statements.

What are less well-known are the solutions.  How do you search for consolidation software that is intuitive to use, takes care of all the links to back-office systems, previous years and individual companies, and carries out all the calculations as well as the error and plausibility checks?

You may be quick to perceive implementing corporate consolidation software as necessarily being a major and expensive project, and therefore shy away from the prospect.  However, you would be mistaken to believe that all consolidation software was expensive and hard to implement.

Step-by-step approach

It won’t surprise you that there’s no such thing as the one ideal financial consolidation solution for all businesses.  That’s why the first step should be to conduct a brief analysis of your current situation.  How complex is your annual financial statement?  What applications and software systems do you use?  Which tasks currently require the most work?

This will identify the starting point at which a solution will simplify the financial consolidation process for your group most effectively in the short term – and automate and speed up your entire planning, analysis and reporting processes in the long term.  This approach will also prepare you in good time for the day when your auditor will only accept your annual consolidated financial statements if they have been prepared with a certified software solution.

Transparency as the benchmark

Let’s return to your auditor’s visit.  Like you, they will probably be pursuing the common goal of getting the audit over and done with as quickly as possible.  Whether you succeed in bringing it to a swift conclusion depends chiefly on how easily your reports can be understood.

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