Most organizations continue to invest a significant number of hours every month in a particular set of activities related to calculating, manipulating and validating critical financial reporting data using spreadsheets. Organizations should be asking whether this level of effort represents incremental value to the financial reporting process and whether this actually does needs to be done in spreadsheets.
It seems like everybody is wearing a lot more hats these days and finance leaders are no exception. Of course, this means that they are finding it increasingly difficult to balance the multitude of responsibilities and non-routine initiatives facing the finance function.
A fast, close-the-books process provides multiple benefits for the finance function and for the company. First, a fast close process creates more time for finance professionals to focus on strategic activities for the company, such as identifying warnings in financial data and providing the corporation's financial direction. It also reduces the cost of the finance function, since fewer hours are needed to close the books. And it demonstrates that the company's controls and systems are well organized; the company sends the message to its competitors and to the investment community that it is expert at performing business processes.
|Busi*ness In*tel”li*gence|, n. - the capacity to acquire and apply business knowledge, the act or state of knowing about your business; to understand and profit from experience; the internal development and sharing of information to create a competitive advantage.
The objectives of a business intelligence competency center (BICC) are to provide the organization with better control over operational and financial reporting, reduce reporting costs, improve consistency, and provide the organization with more complete information for management decisions. BICCs are often business-led cross-functional teams that provide organizational support and guidance for implementation and usage of business intelligence processes and technology. They can live within the IT organization, but more often are business driven.
The internal audit function’s position within a company is unique. It provides its principal stakeholders (audit committee members and management) valuable and objective assurance on governance, risk management and control processes, as well as consulting services to improve operations. With this critical responsibility to fulfill, implicit in executing those duties is internal audit’s continuous improvement to its own practices.
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