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Whilst the core activities of the accounting process remain identification, measurement and reporting, today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment has meant that the methods of delivery have changed significantly.
Gone are the days of the simple double-entry accounting system. The modern financial manager has to find ways of successfully navigating not only the ever fast-moving economic cycles, but also multiple financial challenges and a constantly evolving set of accounting standards.
The realities of the modern financial reporting landscape
Further complicating this is the fact that financial reporting standards are under constant modification. The investment community and regulators continue to require more transparency, organised and systematic exchanges of financial information. This impacts both how and when financial data is distributed and communicated.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes has been around the entrenchment of the King III Codes of Governance. Craig Bishop, ACIMA (UK), a seasoned financial executive with over 30 years of industry experience with companies such as the Aveng Group, De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited and Gold Fields of South Africa Limited, says that largely owing to King III it is the need for and nature of information required within the industry that has seen the most change.
“In essence organisations now have to collate, communicate and continuously modify the way in which they report on both financial and non-financial data. Data which needs to be integrated and in many instances originates from, and is captured, updated and stored on different systems in other departments outside of the finance function. This has dramatically complicated the accounting function,” he says.
For Bishop finding a simple solution to collate, consolidate and communicate the data in a way that meets the required industry and accounting standards is often a challenge. “In my experience, financial consolidation should not be complex and time consuming. The ideal solution is a software solution which can be integrated to supplement the already existing systems with the power to extract the necessary data and report in the required format. This should be done quickly and easily with no additional infrastructure or changes to the existing systems necessary. This functionality is invaluable in today’s more complex era of integrated reporting,” he comments.
Operating in a global market
Mobile devices and computer capabilities from the early 2000s through to now continue to allow people and business to think, act and work globally. Hence the movement over the last 20-years to implement accounting standards that will be standardised around the world as it becomes increasingly more important to be able to communicate with organisations and industries around the world.
John Harris, Executive Director: Business Solutions & Finance for Infinitus Reporting Solutions – Service providers of RollupSheets Financial Consolidation, says that in recent years, organisational and regulatory changes have increased both the level of effort and technology required to meet an ever increasing demand for more standardised data, quicker access to financial data, and visibility into financial reports and disclosures.
“Here financial managers are realising the importance of opting for solutions that have the capacity to seamlessly consolidate data from a number of different sources and systems in order to standardise data and the way it is presented in the most simple and cost-effective manner,” he explains.
Ultimately, the role of the accountancy profession continues to evolve. In the post-financial crisis world, both transparency and financial stability are critically important. It is the profession’s ability to contribute to increased transparency, greater stability and greater market confidence that will determine its ability to be relevant in the future.