Financial Fashion Faux Pas

Okay. Let’s talk fashion.

How do you feel about orange jumpsuits? Or a nice little white number with black arrows painted all over? For the real fashionistas out there, you could even accessorise with a ball and chain, or a “special friend”.

It’s not exactly the standard fare chosen by Executives today, but for some, a style forced upon them after failing to acknowledge the seriousness of accurate and timely regulatory reporting. In fact, it was just last year that an entire board of directors at a local water company were sacked for issues surrounding financial governance. They got off lightly by global standards.

Today, there is absolutely no excuse for providing incorrect regulatory reports. But more than that, being able to prove the figures reported are accurate and have been thoroughly reviewed and approved for publication.

There is only one product in the market today that can help companies put the structure, security and workflow in place to produce regulatory reports to such a degree of accuracy and audit ability. In fact, Gartner created an entirely new quadrant based on this product. In their words, “Cognos FSR is the best-established product of its kind in the market.” (Ref)

IBM Cognos FSR provides you with the ability to section important documents and put in place the security and workflow required to ensure that each section is accurate and approved for publication. Section contributors can link financial values directly to operational and reporting systems for accurate and up-to-date figures and provide commentary and analysis using familiar Microsoft Word and Excel interfaces. Business rules and validations can also be used to ensure figures are consistent throughout the document, for example to ensure the Total Expenditure listed on the summary page is equal to a sum of the detailed figures listed later in the document.

With approvals and workflows assigned to each section in the document, customers can be confident that the right person has reviewed the content, and create an audit trail should a review be necessary.

Furthermore, as document sections are stored in a database, the document can be kept secure and backed up with minimal effort.

Customers that have implemented Cognos FSR, have not only kept themselves out of jail, but have also significantly reduced report development time frames from as much as four months down to a week. This means report teams can spend more time focusing on the analysis and commentary, and less time on copying and pasting results from multiple systems. Not just restricted to regulatory reports, customers are also using Cognos FSR to produce carbon reports, shareholder documents and Executive reports. In fact, it can be beneficial for any repeatable report that contains a mix of numeric data and commentary.

Personally, I know I don’t look good in jailhouse orange. How about you and your Executive team?