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This webinar lived up to its ‘Deep Dive Live’ title, as Tanbir Jasimuddin (Director of Finance, Vardags), Nadine Sutton FCCA (Principal Product Manager, Advanced) and Chris Argent (MD, Generation CFO) really got into the details, debates and discussions surrounding financial reporting.

There was an engaged audience and some key points raised – let me give you a bit of an insight into what went down. 

  • WHY financial reporting is so critical
  • What metrics YOU should be measuring
  • The LATEST meeting reporting standards
  • The PERFECT tools for implementing

If this piques your interest, read on to discover a bit more about the webinar. If you like what you hear, you’ll have the chance to watch the post-live recording by clicking the button below. 

Kicking it off

Chris started off by outlining the panel’s intention. “We’re going to explore what financial data is, what reporting is.”

“Is [the relevant data] all financial? is it not all financial?”

“Every business is a data business today – data is being produced from your ERP and other tools and systems internally and also externally.”

Has financial reporting changed, or has it stayed the same?

Chris asked if the pandemic increased the importance of financial reporting, which got the panel – and the audience – thinking.

Tanbir didn’t think it had an exponential effect: “there’s always something going on in the world”. 

He believed that financial reporting has been “evolving over time even separately from the pandemic”, and went into his reasons for that conception. 

Nadine disagreed, thinking there was a clear change

“Volatility changes, it’s about producing those reports quicker and reacting more”

She went into the push for ESG reporting, changes in legislation and the growing focus on  planning and analysis in finance reporting (and finance generally).

Current finance industry changes and trends

The conversation naturally developed, as they discussed the “necessary evil” (as Chris and Nadine called it) of ‘reg’, or regulation.

They then moved on to the importance of both internal and external data analysis, and which is more important. 

Nadine raised the changes in what employees look for from a business, such as ESG.

“ESG is a big trend; in the world of the great resignation, it can be a real game changer.”

She also remarked on the need for “deeper information into things like supply chains”, as demand for information from the business and employees has grown.

New reporting demands and decision making

The first poll came in, asking the audience if they agreed or disagreed with the statement “We are expanding the range of data used to cover new reporting demands”.

A high majority of 87% agreed, and Tanbir was not surprised.

“The more data points available, the better your decision making will be”

Nadine noted that there is a greater awareness of data and where to find it. “Natural progression that we have found what is available and what we can do with it”

They discussed specialising in data or just adding it into your toolkit. Chris pivoted the conversation onto forecasting, and the panel spoke on budgeting. Tanbir noted that:

“Forecasting can be, and should be, really valuable.”

Nadine noted the increase in rolling forecasts and how quickly the data is getting out. She praised automation to increase accuracy and speed. 

Excel is dead…ish

The second poll for the audience asked ‘What do you use for reporting?’

Nadine said that the results were typical of what she would expect. 

“I can see Excel has a place in reporting, but you need to be a bit aware of what you’re using.”

The panel discussed the positives and negatives of Excel, and the increased use of other reporting tools across the finance industry. 

They talked about new metrics that are sought after, and how subjective they can be. “Less is definitely more”, Tanbir says. 

Final poll and final thoughts

The third poll really divided the audience. The question? “Is cloud based technology your ONLY deployment option”.

This sparked the panel to discuss outdated deployments. Tanbir championed Cloud, praising its functionality. He said: 

“[Cloud] is variablising your fixed costs, every CFOs dream”

Nadine believed that there is a terminology barrier when preferences about deployment and cloud are discussed. She shared an anecdote about companies who are simply unable to open themselves up online, but pointed out the middle ground that can be achieved. 

Finally, they discussed closing the knowledge and skills gap in the digital skills market. 

They ended with advice on how to level up your finance reporting or business partnering game, and with some positive feedback from the comment section.

Sounds up your street? You can access the post-live recording using the button below.