In today’s fast-moving world of corporate reporting, speed of reaction is everything. Not only is the volume of data increasing, but also the velocity. Reporting teams are expected to deliver – to tight deadlines – data-driven, forward-looking insight, of the highest quality and accuracy.
For many organizations, agility and speed of reporting response are a challenge. Fragmented technology makes it hard to collect and analyze large data sets, while cumbersome reporting processes result in slow reaction times.
The impact of fast-changing technology is emphasized in EY’s research, How can reporting catch up with an accelerating world?, which collected the views of 1,000 CFOs or financial controllers of large organizations. When we asked respondents to describe the major external challenges to corporate reporting, they identified “changes to technology” as the number one issue faced.
Thirty percent of respondents suggested that technological change was a concern, compared with 25% who identified market developments, 23% who mentioned regulatory issues and 23% who highlighted the need to satisfy national and international guidance and standards.
Reporting teams are no longer just seen as the stewards of reporting data – they are expected to analyze detailed information and extract insight from large, fast-changing and wide-ranging data sets. At the same time, finance staff must protect and secure that data, as the regulatory and reputational cost of a breach is a significant risk.
Finance leaders face an increasingly complex environment, and they need to prepare themselves for what the future holds. All firms are struggling with increasing automation, the advent of smart, connected devices and the need to use new technologies and harmonize systems. CFOs must get better prepared for Industry 4.0 and the disruption this involves.
When we look at the specific challenges that organizations face, we find teams struggling with IT systems that do not talk to each other, a lack of automation and a proliferation of technologies. Partly, this is due to increased reporting requirements, as firms introduce manual work-arounds to deal with the latest regulatory demands.