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Get control of the annual closing with Digital Finance - and some thoughts on 2020

Annual closing is primarily characterized by getting things organized, recording everything, and getting control of the many reconciliations and documentation for the audit. Data must be prepared and shared, and here you can advantageously use your data platform to optimize the process.
January 6, 2020 twoday kapacity

Reconciliations between, for example, debtor and finance, creditor and finance, inventory and finance, as well as reconciliation of your BI management reporting to the ERP's finance module can be performed efficiently using your data models and form the basis for the reconciliations.

Read more about Digital Finance here.

If there are discrepancies between the data platform and your ERP, it is important to correct and clear up any old pending issues so that the auditor can confidently see documentation that the management reporting is under control.

When the books are almost closed, remember to consider whether you have any shortcomings in the data foundation that will challenge you in the new year when you need to work with internal financial management and management reporting - and need to have good comparison figures from the previous year. In that regard, it may sound "heavy and boring" to spend time improving the posting basis. However, prioritizing as correct a data foundation as possible is an important exercise. A good effort in connection with the annual report can the following year result in significant savings in working hours when making good comparisons and analysis.

Once the books are closed, and you have handed over the material to the auditor, there will certainly also be a feedback loop where the auditor comes with post-postings to the accounts. Here it is important to have a clear understanding of how the post-postings affect the data foundation in the BI solution.

The classic mistake is to book the after-postings in the ERP system with too few details (2-dimensional on account and company), and postings that should be spread out over the year are simply booked on 31/12. This level of registration alone meets the legal requirements for the annual accounts, but does not support the varied internal analysis and reporting needs throughout a financial year. Remember to use the financial dimensions, as the ERP system can almost always handle greater dimensionality than just account and company. And remember good periodization.

2020 – the year of opportunity

At twoday kapacity, we are experiencing some focus areas that occupy many finance departments.

  • Cloud-based ERP- and data platforms
  • Employee data and technology competencies
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

Whether the new year brings development projects, a focus on operations, or something entirely different, it is important to pause and develop a plan for the finance department's focus areas in the new year. The plan should be aligned with the company's strategy and individual employee KPIs. And remember that success with transformation depends on the engagement and competencies of employees and colleagues.

Cloud-based data platform

In recent years, many companies have experienced their first successful cloud IT projects, leading to a continued appetite for investment. Compared to traditional on-premise IT solutions, cloud-based solutions are often easier to install, can be scaled up and down as needed, and the cost follows consumption. From the CFO's perspective, this means that manual work processes can be more easily automated with new software. The freed-up time in finance can be redirected towards working more with analysis and insights using a cloud-based data platform.

Data and technology competencies

Another focus area that concerns many financial managers is the data and technology competencies of their employees. This is because access to these competencies is absolutely necessary to succeed with digital transformation in the finance function.

Resistance to change, however, is not uncommon, and the ambition to succeed with data in the finance function can seem daunting. Therefore, it is the task of financial management to make it clear to employees that it is about being able to solve an increasing number of tasks in the future, gain more insight into the business, and free up time to become a strong business partner. The solution is further education, and at twoday kapacity, we are experiencing significant growth in our Academy business, where we teach users in, among other things, Microsoft Power BI. Power BI is a part of Office 365 and is becoming as natural an application in the finance function as Excel. The tool is intuitive and helps improve analysis capabilities and all reporting tasks.

To get started with Power BI in the finance function, twoday kapacity has put together a Power BI course specifically for controllers and other finance professionals.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into finance functions in these years, especially in forecasting. Historically, it has been a big task to gather the necessary input from across the company, and data volumes can often be large. In a large corporation, there are also many internal contributors to the process, and a global company has many external factors that can affect future results. In addition, there may be politics involved in the process, which worsens the opportunities to create a good forecast. By incorporating artificial intelligence into the forecast solution, you get more objective and consistent numbers while saving time and increasing productivity in the process. This provides more time to analyze forecast deviations and predict the future, which forms the basis for better results.

Read more about how to succeed with AI here.

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