Do you patch the problems one by one with new software? Or have you already taken a holistic approach to financial management systems, processes, and practices?
We talked about the changes we have faced over the decades in terms of mindset, operating models, and financial management systems. Areas of enterprise performance management include consolidation, reporting, budgeting, analysis, and forecasting. As the organization grows and the requirements for performance management increase, processes become more complex. In such an environment, changing operating models requires a clear understanding of the big picture before implementing any changes in practices or tools.
New technologies have brought alternative solutions for large and mid-sized organizations to manage financial performance. One approach has been to simplify complexity by consolidating the organization's needs, at least in terms of consolidation, budgeting, and forecasting, into one information system. There are new solutions on the market that support this path, and OneStream has challenged other vendors by introducing a cloud-based solution operating on a single platform. This way, data processing can be more effectively managed across the entire organization, and the same data can be utilized in multiple areas of performance management. The solution can also be customized to fit the specific operating model of each organization, without forgetting future needs, such as business expansion.
Often, organizations invest in a new system that complements the shortcomings of an old system. In such an approach, the aim is to avoid making changes to the existing systems. With our team, we started to discuss about the emerging needs we have recently identified in enterprises’ financial management.
Organizations have faced new demands in enterprise performance management, such as ESG reporting, data visualization, and forecasting. These demands arise both from the management and external stakeholders. As the needs have evolved, organizations have gradually expanded their system landscape, and at the same time made it complex and dependent on significant amount of work in various roles to maintain. This have resulted in unclear processes, inefficient distribution of responsibilities, numerous integrations between various information systems, and a large amount of manual work. In the worst case, the same tasks are done multiple times as it’s difficult to grasp the entire picture, and the same data is needed in multiple locations. To fulfil the emerging needs, organizations have done their best at that moment, temporarily patching the holes. However, the overall impact of changes on an enterprise scope may not have been fully recognized.
Managing and keeping several systems technically up-to-date is laborious and costly in itself. And the more work is done with data from a larger organizational entity - subsidiaries and associated companies - the more complex and challenging the landscape becomes. It is crucial to consider each company's own systems and processes, which makes financial performance management significantly more complicated.
In the discussion with my colleagues, we delved into the root cause of the issue. If the data required for managing financial performance is scattered, incorporating the necessary information across different companies, and within the enterprise, demands more from employees as well as the solution that is used. Additionally, if all information is not available in the required format from existing systems, it might lead to implementation of new systems to support, for example, evolving reporting and risk management needs.
Our team has experienced that relevant and timely information needed for performance management is not always easily accessible in a complex landscape, and sometimes retrieving it from the systems can even be impossible. Enterprises hold incredibly large amounts of data, and the use of it continues to grow year after year, especially in the field of financial planning. This increases the performance requirements of the system landscape. When managing a business no longer focuses on interpreting the past but aims to quickly generate forecasts of future events, operational models need to be clarified to facilitate agile changes of direction. Obtaining information alone is not enough; it is also crucial to be able to make the necessary changes to leverage the information. This requires evaluating the efficiency of all financial performance processes and their different stages.
Every additional component in processes and systems also increases the lead time of, for example, the completion of consolidated financial statements. Modern platforms, such as OneStream, empower organizations to seamlessly manage processes, data, and complex structures without hindering the productivity of professionals, addressing a common challenge faced in environments with multiple systems and tools. A solution that centralizes financial performance management onto a single platform can also bring value that may not have been recognized initially. At its simplest, it can eliminate almost entirely the time spent on separate Excels and data transfers.
Our discussion on financial performance management veered into a challenge that greatly affects enterprises, and that we often face in our work: communication. It is impossible to grasp the overall picture of an organization’s performance if financial management processes are unclear or undocumented, or if schedules related to financial performance management are not communicated clearly. Challenges also arise when necessary information, such as changes in the corporate structure, is not adequately and promptly shared with all parties. It is important for an enterprise to have clear reporting practices and schedules that extend to all companies. Emphasis must also be given to the varying legislation, schedules, and practices internationally. Continuous dialogue within and between the companies plays a significant role, enabling timely reaction to changes and necessary measures to succeed.
We want to contribute to easier and more efficient enterprise performance management. By managing and leveraging data on a single intelligent finance platform, Finnish organizations can simplify processes and reduce integrations. The resulting savings can be directed elsewhere in the core business of the organization.
OneStream has found out in its customer research that organizations who have transitioned to a unified finance platform have succeeded to reduce the time spent on financial data management by an average of up to 80%. Would you like to learn more about this? Download OneStream's Exploring Value Realization report below.
Managing financial performance on a unified platform improves data management, reduces technical debt, and makes decision-making more efficient.
I have an honour to work as a solution consultant at Tietoevry Create with a skilled and talented team and an excellent technology. Based on my diverse experience in various finance, sales and marketing roles, I actively write about interesting topics in the professional life on LinkedIn. Connect with me to follow my and Tietoevry team’s daily work in the domain of leading consolidation and planning systems!