Beat the Clock: How to Automate the Monthly Financial Reporting CyclePosted on Aug 29, 2017 2:15:12 PM
Monthly reporting is a best practice for every financial team. It’s part of a standard routine that enables you to monitor and assess actuals against planned in your annual budget and provide your board recurrent updates.
What I always found frustrating during my more than 30 years as a chief financial officer/treasurer for a school district in suburban Chicago is that no financial system is set-up to produce the specific reports needed for my district. It’s a complaint I often hear now as I talk to clients all over the United States.
Instead, we’ve been stuck with a manual monthly reporting process that consumes a disproportionate amount of resources. I know from experience that updating, analyzing, cutting, pasting and formatting your financial data every 30 days takes a lot of time.
You know there’s likely a better way. But, you just don’t have time to figure out how to be more efficient. There’s already too much on your plate that needs attention. That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about 5Cast™ Plus, a new module for 5Cast™ that dramatically simplifies monthly reporting.
Automate the process
Every chief financial officer is interested in finding out what happened during the month as quickly as possible. Monitoring the flow of revenues and expenses is critical to help administrators understand the health of the district. Waiting until bank statements are reconciled to update your financial system to begin the manual process of producing reports can be frustrating.
That’s why Forecast5 developed 5Cast Plus as a way to automate the process of monthly reporting so school district finance teams can more easily evaluate what’s happening at the end of each month, compare to the previous month or year, and project the budget to the end of the fiscal year.
The past informs the future
We already know the benefits of tapping historical data to analyze, forecast and fine-tune your budget looking ahead one to five years. The same data that informs long-term planning is just as valuable for managing the current year’s budget. You just need the right tools.
School districts are very habitual about how they spend funds. Primary costs can be accurately mapped out over the course of 12 months. By combining that data with transactional data for the past 3 to 5 years, it’s possible using 5Cast Plus to uncover trends in revenue recognition and expenses by month.
Instead of waiting for bank reconciliation statements, the 5Cast Plus module for 5Cast, enables you to immediately upload monthly transactions from your financial system to assess where you’re at and compare to the trend reports from previous years, identify variances and see where you’re headed for the fiscal year. You’ll also be able to quickly measure short-term performance goals.
Reports on demand
At month end — or any time — 5Cast Plus enables you to easily create reports customized the way you want them, quickly and easily. No more cutting and pasting into spreadsheets. Because the process is automated, the time previously spent manually creating the reports can now be spent on other projects.
You determine what goes into the report so you can share as much or as little data as makes sense for your board or any other group of stakeholders. If information changes, the reports automatically reflect the new data.
By letting the 5Cast Plus module crunch the numbers and generate the output, the time previously spent manually creating the reports can now be spent on other projects.
Suddenly, time is on your side.
David joined Forecast5 Analytics in 2014 and is responsible for the product management, development, and outreach of Forecast5’ s quantitative analysis and financial projection engine – 5Cast. He also assists with the management of 5Cast client relationships. Prior to joining Forecast5 Analytics, he worked as a Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer for over 30 years at Township High School District 211, in Palatine, Illinois. During his extensive experience as a CFO, he successfully engaged in the development of several strategic planning projects and long-term capital improvement programs. David received his BA in Business Economics, and has a MA and certification in school business management.