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Whatever Happened to My Historical Comparisons?

Whatever Happened to My Historical Comparisons?

I recently participated in a webinar aimed at the tech-savvy CFO.  It was a fantastic presentation given by one of the senior directors at Intacct, a world class ERP cloud application.   He made several excellent points related to embracing cloud accounting principles and divesting yourself of the oft-erred and oft-encumbering spreadsheet world.  Then he began talking about how we use data and not just what was wrong with it.   Too often I hear about the problems with data and what is wrong with the data.  I do not hear enough about why the data is wrong and how the data could be better used and applied to a process.  Therefore I found the question below interesting and so I snagged it, literally, the second the results were posted.  I think it was a public forum???  Oh well, check out the below survey.

Most Important Data for Financial Context

Why Historical Comparisons are Still Important

It’s easy to see that Operational Metrics are popular as a way to provide context for useful information.  They are tied to the strategy and operationally they are executable.  I must admit that I selected that item as well when given the five choices above.  However, more importantly is the choice of Historical Comparisons (HCs).  According to the speaker Historical Comparisons are dwindling as a backdrop for context more and more each year.  WHY?

HCs have always been the go-to for then-and-now-and-later analysis but things are changing too fast.  Consumer’s appetite for answers are growing and Finance’s ability to satisfy that appetite is under suspicion.  Enter cloud applications with real-time accounting and analytics with the ability to forecast weekly when necessary.   Yes, things probably are changing too quickly and by today’s standards Historical Comparison data is the lazy man’s analytical tactic.

But there are alternatives like Cloud-ERPs like Intacct and Cloud-EPMs like Host Analytics.  Alas, this new transactional normal will certainly contribute to making Historical Comparisons a thing of the past.

What's Wrong with Spreadsheets?

Ray Panko – spreadsheet errors…not a matter of if … but when.  Cannot be relevant because they are not accurate.  Capture context at the source.  Modern ERP will Tag it with business context as it ENTERS the system.

Four Steps from Visibility to Insight in Financials

Four Steps from Visibility to Insight

Watch the webcast, The Tech Savvy CFO: From Visibility to Insight here.

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