Fine-tuning the reporting engine: why the reporting operating model is ripe for redesign

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Reporting teams are expected to deliver granular reporting information, quickly, and with zero defects. This insight is critical to allow reporting’s stakeholders to interpret, and make sense, of a fast-changing world. Ad hoc requests are common, and expectations are high, putting a strain on already stretched teams.

Playing this role requires a transformation of how reporting is delivered — its operating model. Reporting teams that have suboptimal operating models — fragmented processes, complexity and unclear governance, duplicative efforts, time-consuming manual workarounds — will likely not succeed. While operating model transformation represents a significant effort, which will consume considerable leadership time, it is now a strategic priority.

In our research, three themes emerge:

Organizations are increasingly using more streamlined and centralized operating model arrangements for reporting, and a further wave of transformation is expected in the near-future

EY - In our research, three themes emerge

Corporate reporting managed services exceeds more distant arrangements

EY - In our research, three themes emerge

Operating model change is seen as key to generating forward-looking insight, cutting through complexity and delivering a more responsive approach to reporting

The top three drivers were:

EY - The top three drivers were

Corporate reporting agility is the critical priority for industry leaders

Question: If you plan on making operating model change over the next two years to drive corporate reporting excellence, what are the main reasons?

Respondents who are making operating model changes in order to create a more flexible and agile reporting function

EY - The top three drivers were

Organizations are using operating model transformation as an opportunity to drive process excellence and harmonization, and warn against a pure “cost play” transformation

Operating model transformation will always have a cost reduction element, as finance leaders seek the efficiencies of moving processes into arrangements such as offshore shared services. And, in the future, as robotic process automation makes further inroads, the cost advantages of a robot over a full-time employee may be significant. However, reporting’s stakeholders are not just looking for a team that is cost efficient. Key stakeholders — from supervisory boards to CEOs — are expecting greater value: better data, sophisticated analysis, strategic business partnering, exemplary consistency and control. Moving to new centralized arrangements, such as shared services, must also be about harmonizing and improving those reporting processes. Operating model transformation becomes an opportunity to eliminate redundant processes, streamline critical processes, achieve global consistency and automate more transactional activities.

Find out more about the possibilities of redesigning the reporting operating model by downloading the full report here.