Management accounting: What next for the monthly pack?

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It’s the month end again and boards around the country are already pressing their finance teams for the latest figures.

Traditionally this information is presented in a monthly management report or pack including profit and loss accounts, a cash flow statement, and other performance measures such as new prospects and customers.

Seven years ago AccountingWEB got a great response when we asked, What is the ideal management pack?

A lot has changed since then, with the arrival of social networking, mobile apps and interactive business analytics. In a series of articles over the next month or so, AccountingWEB is going to take a fresh look at management reporting to see whether these developments have changed reporting habits - and perhaps made the management pack a superfluous appendix to modern business practice.

This first article will examine trends...

What kind of management information do you prefer and how you go about creating and delivering it? Join AccountingWEB and let us know by commenting on the full version of this article. We’ll include useful advice in the next instalments of this series.

Continued...

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Comments

Manangement Reporting    2 thanks

john cottam | | Permalink

Boards can no longer wait a full month before knowing what the financial position is. The use of technolgy will enable companies to produce cash-flows and p&l information on demand. Month-end reporting will still be required to validate the data, but as a tool for managing the business it is becoming less relevant.

Management Reporting    1 thanks

arandall | | Permalink

Interesting post to read, which I shall certainly follow.  Its true that small companies do not have the IT skills and/or knowledge to be able to produce the real-time, whizzy reports and Excel still is the pre-dominant tool in use.  However, the demands for up to the minute, predictive, analytical data is increasingly present and adds to the pressures of running a lean finance team.  At the moment, we are very much in the Excel camp and the more traditional type of reporting.  But this is under review and we are looking at how we can provide information on a wider platform and how we can make it more predictive and forward looking.  There is also so much more data available and concepts, such as Big Data, cannot be ignored, even for a small company.

Just a point, I looked at Chartbeat and their demo does not run in Internet Explorer.  It failed at the first hurdle!

For many years...    3 thanks

Trevor Scott | | Permalink

.....the standard for one company I know has been ...Accounts to 5pm each weekday, produced by hopefully 6pm (For which the directors often stay late; especially a Monday) but no later than 10am the next day.

Another company has accounts to 7pm, the time of closure for their last retail units, on the desk of managers by 10am the next day.

Another company has accounts produced at noon and close of each day; actually quite easy, the figures mainly dependent upon orders received.

In 1988, yes 1988, I knew of a large company in which the accountants were always on top of things and were never more than an hour away from being able to produce very accurate accounts; mainly using Lotus 123.

With good management such things are straight forward.

I once met a person who claimed to have real-time accounts production; ie available at the press of a key at any time. But, I cannot see how such is possible as the critical element between mere data and accounts information is professional judgement; which does take time.

Paul Holborow's picture

Management reporting ...    1 thanks

Paul Holborow | | Permalink

To say smaller companies don't have the IT expertise can be solved with a little investment. Its pretty easy to construct reports in Excel using direct connections to accounting systems - just check out Glenn Feechans blog. And as users/resellers of Access Accounts, I know many of my users, who are SME's, just need to invest 1/2 day of consulting time to acquite the expertise to connect Access Dimensions to say Excel or other reporting tools and they can have nice whizzy graphs and dashboards really easily.

Where I do agree is with the difficulty in gathering non-financial info to include in report packs. SME's often have disparate systems and the data isn't easily accessible, if available at all. SME's I think also need help identifying what their KPI's actually are. Finance Directors and managers focus on the accounting numbers, which really should be the easy bit by now, it's the other indicators of business success that need identifying and included in report packs that's important too.

 

 

Hannahmc8's picture

management accounts for the hospitality trade    1 thanks

Hannahmc8 | | Permalink

This issue of "excel being the comfort zone" has its limitations. Traditional management accounting processes require repetition of data entry and time lag awaiting month-end. This costs in many ways.

Frustrated with what was on offer to help SME single and multiple-site pub and restaurant businesses in viewing management metrics instantly and the associated costs incurred we built mylivevision.com. 

Fully integrated back office processes using the daily information already recorded by management. Time spent inputting data is reduced, internal reporting vastly improved and as KPI's are analysed across all departments, sites and the entire company instantly, operators can act quickly on the information at hand.

I love excel, but low-cost, high-impact, fully integrated cloud solutions have to be the way forward.