The Future of Financial Reporting Survey 2017 was completed by more than 977 senior finance members from across the globe, (50% Europe; 15% North America and 15% Asia-Pacific 12%) making it one of the largest and most authoritative studies of its kind.
Financial reporting, whether for internal stakeholders or public consumption, forms the bedrock of the finance function and is often the primary and most visible measure of the finance function’s professional competence and standing. But this year’s survey finds a process that is teetering under the strain of new information demands, a spreadsheet-spiral™, inappropriate technology and the unwillingness of boards to add to the finance function headcount. One quarter of respondents have reduced their finance headcount in the last three years, and 40% had kept headcount flat in the same period. If it were not for the hard work and dedication of finance professionals many organizations would face serious consequences.
Understandably, many CFOs view self-service reporting as a panacea – a way to offset the pressure they are under. But our research identifies so many fault lines in their regular reporting that many enterprises are simply not ready to allow users to help themselves. It would simply make matters much worse.
For the first time this report pinpoints why spreadsheets are spiraling out of control and how this sets up a chain of events that ripples all the way through to the boardroom. But we also shed light on how the spreadsheet-spiral™ can be broken, using unified transaction and performance management systems that can more easily change as the organization changes, probably in the cloud.