Trust can take a lifetime to build and seconds to lose. While rebuilding it depends on many factors, reporting can play a vital role.
Reporting teams should be able to exploit the rich, multidimensional data they now have access to. Using digital technology and analytics skills, you may provide the reporting insights that give stakeholders visibility into the business and support long-term value.
For reporting to play this role, finance leaders should consider three critical actions:
1. Understand how your approach to reporting and transparency measures up against your peers
You should compare your approach to reporting against peers and leaders in this field. This can help stimulate your thinking about creating a structured framework for reporting long-term value to key stakeholders. You also should consider how they approach nonfinancial assurance so that external stakeholders and boards trust that information. You should also consider how to manage risk and seize opportunities to improve supporting processes and systems.
2. Create a compelling but pragmatic vision for how finance could utilize new technology advances
Over the coming years, intelligent systems are likely to play an increasing role in more reporting processes and tasks, transforming the ability of finance teams to drive insight from their data. To realize the potential of intelligent systems, you should act now to identify the reporting issues these technologies may solve and to set out how they could transform your approach. This can give finance both a compelling vision and a practical road map for change. This may also help you overcome organizational resistance and engage with key stakeholders such as supervisory boards and audit committees.
3. Manage the difficult tension between mitigating data as a risk and exploiting it as an opportunity
There is an important balance to strike between “data as a risk” and “data as an opportunity.” You should drive data innovation while avoiding lapses in data security and threats to your customers’ privacy. This means creating the right internal culture for data, with everyone following a clear data strategy underpinned by a code of conduct and data governance framework. And rather than seeing regulatory frameworks for data protection and privacy just as compliance exercises, you should consider reframing them as an opportunity to take a positive approach to data.