Confidence misplaced about accuracy of financial data reveals research by Source and Advanced

16 October 2012

Majority of financial professionals have confidence in their records but further analysis reveals data and processing concerns

Confidence is misplaced about the accuracy of organisations’ financial data, according to recent research by the Commercial Division of Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced) in partnership with SourceforConsulting (Source). Source surveyed 104 decision makers including senior financial professionals across UK mid-sized organisations, and conducted interviews with management consultants, to understand their experiences of creating and using financial information.

The findings from the survey ‘Making the numbers add up – how better financial accounting can support and promote growth’ reveal that the majority of financial professionals surveyed are confident that their accounts receivable (AR), accounts payable (AP) and general ledger (GL) data is correct (100%, 97% and 97% respectively). In addition, 77% have confidence in the accuracy of their fixed assets data.

However further analysis suggests that this confidence is misplaced with 42% of financial professionals admitting that their AR data lags behind reality by more than one day, with 55%, 48% and 77% of respondents respectively stating the same about their AP, GL and fixed ledger data. In addition, the majority of respondents acknowledge the use of spreadsheets as part of their processes for producing AR, AP, GL and fixed asset records, with a startling 77% of respondents using spreadsheets as part of both their AR and GL processes.

Simon Fowler, Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions (Commercial Division), says, “Financial professionals are more confident than they should be about the accuracy of their financial data. With many survey respondents admitting that information is not updated in their finance system in real-time and with the use of error-prone spreadsheets being widespread, it’s time for organisations to challenge their existing financial systems and processes.”

Rachel Ainsworth, Senior Research Manager from SourceforConsulting, adds, “It’s important for organisations to have an honest review of their financial records and their procedures for updating these. To achieve total confidence in financial records, data needs updating in a timely fashion and the use of unreliable and time-consuming tools, such as spreadsheets, should be replaced with smart, automated technologies.”

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