The list of reporting tasks facing the finance department are daunting:
At first glance, spreadsheets & word processors may seem like a perfect solution for these tasks. These generic tools are manipulated into service in a myriad of ways because they are simple to use, cheap, and flexible.
Since you are reading this, we likely don't need to explain why this initial assumption is dead wrong. For recurring, complex, lengthy documents, these tools inevitably lead to two major problems:
If you think you could be doing something better with your time, consider better solutions...
Upgrade to purpose-built reporting solutions that:
Industry-leading solutions, designed with a clear understanding of specific business processes provide significant benefits. Demand solutions that:
We have scoured the market to find the best solutions available. Without a doubt the industry leader in automation of standardized reporting is CaseWare. It is not the least expensive and it is more complex than a spreadsheet. But it provides a level of automation, validation, and repeatability that is without equal.
Automate many of the most time-consuming steps to become much more efficient. Time savings of 25% to 45% are common.
With increased automation, built-in structure, and automated verification/review the most common causes of errors are prevented.
Fully documented, controlled business processes become easily repeatable. This is incredibly valuable in the event of staff turnover. Further, repeatability facilitates on-going incremental improvements and better support for managing deadlines.
Consistent, professionally designed statements eliminate the need for graphic designers and the associated time delays and expense (not to mention the risk of error).
Handing an electronic file to your auditor that is linked from statements all the way down to scans of supporting documents means they have the easiest to review, most complete year-end file possible. Saving the auditor time translates into reduced audit fees.
Automating vast portions of complex reporting tasks often reduces overtime related costs. For example, using spreadsheets the time required to tackle year-end and the associated deadlines means evening and weekend work is inevitable.
For those where overtime is not paid, the weeks of time savings can be invested in other projects/tasks. It translates to "free" weeks of time available for other tasks for the organization or restoring the work/life balance for your dedicated staff.
Modern, dedicated reporting automation tools are designed to manage entire business processes without paper. Paperless processes mean no printed audit binders and no more printing 20 draft versions of the statements as you correct values you forgot to update.
I am certainly happy we implemented CaseWare. I easily saved 40 hours of time. Plus, we saved $8,000 on our audit fees because of the time it saved the auditors. We expect it will get faster and better yet!
Carol Hounsell, Manager, Accounting Services City of Leduc
Now, our financial statement generation is almost completely automated. We import the data from our accounting software and make all the adjustments in CaseWare. It is much faster to work in CaseWare, easier to troubleshoot and create any on- the-fly reports we need. (Read more...)
They are recognized experts in both CaseWare and municipal reporting requirements. We value that experience and look to them for assistance developing best practices for our reporting cycles going forward. Our province has additional unique requirements. F.H. Black was familiar with these requirements and could help us meet them using CaseWare. (Read more...)
F.H. Black understands municipal accounting. There’s a tremendous knowledge base within the company and they use that knowledge to come up with strategic recommendations that really help us leverage the software to our best advantage. (Read more...)
FH Black exceeded our expectations. From day 1, their project manager (Darryl Parker) made us believe we were his one and only client. With his deep knowledge in governmental accounting, he had a clear understanding of our practices and challenges.
Judy Lynn, Sr. Financial Analyst Washington County Oregon