The Carrot or the Stick | Governance and Integration

In the UK the FSA’s Code of Corporate Governance and in the US the SOX Act, require companies to ensure that their financial statements are an accurate representation of their underlying transactional and forecasting systems.

In most companies, the flow of data from the diverse ledgers and forecasting systems, through group consolidation and into the financial statements is a highly manual process. It is not possible to certify from a governance or internal-control perspective, so most companies require that the financial controller of each division sign off on their respective data once they have manipulated it into a single repository on a single standard. However, this passing of the corporate buck has no legal effect on the company’s, CEO’s or CFO’s responsibility! In our experience , it is also a very unreliable and inefficient method of identifying errors…

The alternative is to integrate a company’s diverse ledgers, forecasting, consolidation and reporting systems. One option to achieve this is to convert all of your systems to the same chart and platform. However, Seismi’s preferred route in the right instance, such as when the principle aim is to standardise business reporting, is to: understand and define the business rules to align the reference data across these multiple standards; centralise and govern this masterdata; and finally distribute the refined masterdata to the relevant systems and applications thereby creating the necessary standard reporting. The benefits of this method of standardisation extend way beyond avoiding the legislative stick.

Imagine your organisation where someone from head office can drill through the group financial statements to the divisional data balance, and then to a specific transaction, to understand who and why an accrual was raised, without the normal month-end ‘please explain..’. Converting bean counters into bean farmers, well almost…

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