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9 reports that set data-driven CFOs apart

5th Mar 2024
Brought to you by
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Award-winning cloud accounting software for multi-company businesses.

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Ever wondered how finance professionals stay ahead of the game? The secret lies in the world of
Group Finance Reporting! In the dynamic realm of finance, accurate data is a powerful tool. However, 
aligning everyone’s efforts can pose a challenge. At AccountsIQ we’re here to demystify the process 
and share how leading finance functions can help you to overcome hurdles.

Join us as we explore the fascinating world of performance management reporting, where both 
professionalism and enjoyment seamlessly blend together. 

9 reports that set data-driven CFOs apart
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Why are CFO reports important?

Financial reporting is the most efficient way to track how a business’s finances are being used and managed. Whilst different reports contain specific types of financial information, all reports are essentially produced to provide an overview of a company’s financial situation and overall performance. CFO reports are often intended for internal use, such as planning for future goals or updating management with clear and concise financial trends. They are also used by external entities, such as lenders and investors, who may need insight into the company’s financial status. This article continues the theme of reporting excellence, and we highlight nine reports every CFO in a leading finance function should be presenting. Of course, specific metrics will apply from sector to sector, but the themes remain.
 

1. Cash and cashflow forecast

Unless you’re sitting on large cash reserves that just keep growing, cash flow forecasting should be right at the top of your list! Reporting on, and discussing, cashflow; current cash position and future expected net cashflows, along with  timing, is paramount. This should include a medium-term view and a short-term, say 60 or 90-day, view of cash. Unfortunately, too few SMEs engage in this practice, and even fewer do it effectively. Integrating a medium-term forecast with cashflow, P&L, and balance sheet projections is essential. While a shorter-term forecast may focus solely on cash, it must align with the opening balance sheet position for accuracy.

2. OKR (objectives & key results) reporting 

OKR reporting is often overlooked and poorly reported, even though tracking progress on specific business objectives is crucial. Separate reporting on shorter-term project initiatives helps maintain focus. Surprisingly, less than 50% of FTSE100 companies align their reporting with their objectives. This alignment is even lower in SMEs, emphasising  the importance of integrating reporting with objectives to support your strategy.

3. Risk reporting

Risk reporting is not just for the brave. As a CFO, you have a unique vantage point to assess and report on financial and performance risks. By identifying potential risks early on and proposing mitigating strategies, you set the stage for a resilient and proactive approach to risk management. Early awareness of risks is often enough to set the right plan in motion to weather the storm.

4. Sales forecast or customer pipeline 

You need to know where your future sales are coming from. Whether through sales forecasts or customer pipelines, tracking potential revenue sources is essential. This type of reporting allows you to identify valuable customers, predict conversion probabilities, and plan for growth.

5. Consolidated & segmented P&L, balance sheet and historic cash flow

The bread and butter of every CFO reporting period, de facto. Past performance, particularly segmented, is very useful to understand high performing business units, products, channels, salespersons etc. By learning from the past while looking ahead, you can make informed decisions and drive your business forward.

We’ve seen limitations at both ends of the spectrum – dis-aggregated and aggregated information. It’s important to have both - a financial consolidated view top-down and the ability to drill into sufficient segmented detail to get a deeper understanding of what is working and what is not. Like all reporting, it’s all about applying smart changes to the business.

6. Product/sales mix & concentration

Get ready to dive deeper into your product and sales mix. Understanding what contributes 
to your top-line growth and identifying customer preferences helps you make strategic decisions. By leveraging successful aspects across your business, you can achieve higher overall performance.

7. Segmented gross margin/contribution

Benchmarking is the name of the game. Segmenting your gross margin and contribution analysis allows you to identify which parts of your business are thriving and learn from their success. Apply these insights to improve performance across your organisation.

8. Customer behaviour

Customer-centric reporting is key to focusing on performance, so get to know your customers inside out! In B2B businesses, customer-centric reporting includes metrics like customer acquisition cost, churn rate, and customer satisfaction. For B2C businesses, focus on repeat orders and customer acquisition channels. This type of reporting helps you understand your customers better and tailor your strategies accordingly. We once worked with a FTSE 250 company that couldn’t tell the global spend by customer. Don’t fall into this trap!

9. Internal productivity 

Efficiency matters! Monitoring productivity within your organisation allows you to identify successful processes, individuals, and departments. By benchmarking and making smart changes based on these insights, you can drive overall business improvement.

Conclusion

These reporting themes are essential for any leading finance function. Remember, it’s not just about the 
numbers it’s about:

• Combining financial and non-financial metrics to gain a holistic understanding 
of your business’s performance
• Having the ability to report on more than just financial numbers;
• Mashing financial and non-financial metrics together to enrich the information;
• Moving up the reporting maturity curve; and
• Proportionately spending more time on understanding and decision-making rather than preparing the reports.

By leveraging these insights, you empower your management team, C-suite, and Board to make informed strategic decisions.

Hungry for more?

Read our case study about the finance team at The Irish Times Group and how they save valuable time by doing their monthly reporting with AccountsIQ. The detailed business intelligence gives their management team greater control over the business. 

Discover what's different about AccountsIQ cloud financial management software and how we can help. 

Contact us today