A digital window for manufacturing analysis


Intelligent data can come to life in dashboards that are built on analysis of the company’s entire ledger. Strategic opportunities and efficiencies often emerge, and the dashboards ultimately help management identify data-driven opportunities to monitor and improve their finance and accounting processes.


Dashboards can also validate and quantify previously known pain points, helping companies to compare their own processes to best practice benchmarks.


“For manufacturers that build to-spec and track their percentage of completion within their system, analytics can be written to identify margin variances from the budget or compared to similar projects. Analytics can also identify where percentage-of-completion occurred at a faster rate than similar projects or the expected period of the contract,” Schindler said.


Whole-ledger analytics can help companies discover manual tasks that could be automated, find anomalies that need further investigation and help finance personnel focus on higher-value duties. One significant source of wasted effort in finance departments is the performance of manual journal entries that could be automated. A company might know that many of its journal entries are manual, but not know which ones or who predominantly enters them. With whole-ledger analytics, the company can identify which journal entries are manual, which are automated, and how many manual journal entries each employee is performing.


Finance teams know the value of metrics and want access to additional data about their own activity, especially when the metrics and insights emerge from the financial statement audit that’s already a required or established service. “The key is giving them actionable opportunities,” Howell said. Auditors can evaluate your data against other similar companies and provide you with some metrics as a gauge.


The fixed assets module is common across most major enterprise resource planning systems, so many companies expect it to automatically record depreciation expenses in the general ledger. However, that’s not always true. Analytics can quickly show which entries are not automated, so that you can find the best opportunities for automation.


When companies can decrease their number of manual entries, they provide opportunities to move staff to more valuable tasks and improve job satisfaction. Companies can also reduce the risk of error or fraud and save significant expense, sometimes without a new technology investment. Howell recalled that one accounting team was simply not using their existing system’s ability to auto-reverse accrual entries.


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