Streamlining Communication in Your Financial Reporting

Posted on:  November 14, 2022

Financial Reporting             Communicating financial information to a team can sometimes be challenging. As a financial manager, you know that better than anyone. You’re the person who has to make sure that the company’s finances are in order, and that means communicating with many different people and departments on a regular basis. The more people within your organization, the more complex it can be to ensure everyone is on the same page. The financial team is the engine that drives your business. Without them, you can’t get paid. It’s a critical role that requires a lot of collaboration and communication across departments.

10 Tips to Streamline Communication in Your Financial Reporting

 

1. Invest in a good financial reporting software

The first step to streamlining communication is investing in good financial reporting software. A robust reporting tool helps you make better decisions by giving you an overview of all aspects of your business at one glance – including balance sheets and cash flow forecasts. It will save you time and money, ensure consistency, provide more accurate results, and allow you to collaborate with your team more effectively. It should also be simple enough to use that anyone on your financial team can generate reports at any time.

2. Use visuals

Visuals make complex information easier to understand; therefore, they should be part of every report and presentation. The goal is to convey information quickly and clearly, not just give people something to read. They can include charts and graphs, but also illustrations that help tell a story in visual form. Use color-coding to differentiate between different pieces of data — it helps keep things organized while also making it easier for readers to scan through large documents or presentations. Many financial reporting software tools like ‘Synoptix’ are effective because of their use of visuals, allowing you to incorporate visual information into your presentations and reports and enhance their professional look.

3. Use the right level of detail

The amount of detail provided in financial reporting depends largely on who reads it — from board members to investors. The right financial reporting software helps you choose an approach that’s appropriate, given who will be reading your report. You want to make certain that the person reading the report understands what they need to know without being overwhelmed by too much detail. Think about what information is required, who needs it, and how often they need to see it before deciding what level of detail should go into each piece of communication.

4. Establish clear ownership over financial reporting communications

You can’t have a successful system unless you know who’s responsible for what. Make certain there is one person who owns all external reporting communications, including those that go out to investors, regulators, and vendors. Each member of your team should know who is responsible for what, so if someone needs help or has questions, they know whom to go to first. In addition, you must put a communication plan in place to ensure that all members are aware of their responsibilities and know how best to reach out if they need assistance or clarification on something. Financial reporting software helps you ensure critical information is communicated accurately to the right people at the right time.

5. Make sure your data is accurate – every time

It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget: always double-check your numbers before sending anything out! It is especially true when it comes to financial statements, since they reflect how well your company is performing overall and provide key insights about its health. Your finance team should be able to rely on the accuracy of its data at all times. This means having an audit trail for every transaction, as well as procedures in place that ensure consistency and accuracy in all financial reports. You can leverage financial reporting software to ensure that your data and numbers are true and accurate.

6. Set clear expectations and deadlines

Another important factor when it comes to streamlining communication is setting clear expectations and deadlines for each task or project. This is especially true for financial reports. You may have a lot of people involved with different priorities and goals, so it’s essential that everyone know what they need to do, when to do it, and how long it should take them. If a deadline isn’t met, there needs to be an action plan in place so that everyone knows what needs to happen next. Using integrated financial reporting software can help you and your team to be on the same page and right track.

7. Create a weekly meeting agenda

Meetings can be a huge time suck, but they’re also an essential part of team communication. Instead of letting meetings go on and on with no end in sight, create an agenda that includes key issues that need to be discussed and resolved by the end of the meeting. This will help keep discussions focused and productive. When you have a weekly meeting with members of your finance team, use this time to go over what’s happening in each department and give updates on any projects or initiatives that need attention.

8. Always provide comparisons

If there have been changes in numbers from last week or from previous months/years, make sure that the report includes comparisons. That way, everyone will have context for what’s going on now compared to what happened previously. It also provides an excellent opportunity for you to identify areas where cost savings may be possible, as well as show progress towards targets. You can make use of financial reporting software to compare and demonstrate your numbers against industry averages or other companies at similar stages in their growth cycle.

9. Explain variances

Variances are common in any business, but it’s vital to understand why they occur. If you’re presenting numbers that deviate from expectations or forecasts, explain why they’re different and how they might change in the future. This helps ensure that everyone understands why something happened and what steps must be taken in the future so as to prevent similar issues from arising again.

10. Stay up-to-date on new methods for communicating financial data

Financial reporting software is constantly changing and evolving — especially cloud-based software solutions. As these changes happen, so should your communication methods! You should always seek ways to improve your internal communications process so that everyone can stay current with their duties and responsibilities, without having to ask questions or dig through emails all day long trying to find the information they need. A good financial reporting solution will also allow you to include notes and/or documents within each and every cell of your reports for added explanation and perspective of each number. Are you looking for cloud-based financial reporting software for your business? Synoptix Software can help. To get a free demo, call 866.214.6008.

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