10 Signs You Should Invest in Automated Financial Reporting Technology

May 24, 2017


It is all too easy to continue with inefficient or poor reporting practices just because you ‘have always done it this way’.

Take a look at the following tell-tale signs. Are any of the following sounding familiar? If, so, now is the time you need to invest in technology.

1. Your reporting cycle seems to finish just before it all starts again.

Many firms operate a reporting cycle that takes almost the entire month to complete; some longer. Almost all those firms want or need to reduce that cycle. Implementing an automated reporting system will mean a drastic reduction in that cycle. A typical Factsheet has over 600 dynamic fields that change each cycle. Hundreds of these factsheets can be created and updated in minutes using a dedicated reporting system.

2. You wonder if there is a copy/paste equivalent of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

You have been copying and pasting charts, tables and commentary for so long, you have memorised all the keyboard shortcuts in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Surely, you deserve a medal, a pay rise or a day off without doing the same thing repeatedly? Think again – a well set up automated reporting system can populate thousands of data points in a factsheet or produce an entire client report in a few seconds. Even the most nimble-fingered keyboard jockey would struggle to match that pace.

3. You like your company, you love the people, you are great at marketing, but spend most of your month not marketing your company’s investments.

The phrase “document updater” is definitely not to be found in your job title, so why are you spending 7 hours per day updating documents when you want to be planning next quarter’s marketing mix and researching the latest marketing opportunities for your firm. We understand that “someone” must create and update those factsheets every cycle – but why not make it a “something” rather than “someone”! Invest in a reporting solution and with all the time saved you can start to add real value to your firm.

4. You are staring at 20 minutely different disclaimers, wondering which one should go with the report you just built from scratch.

We have all been there, the deadline is looming, your slide deck is getting bloated, if only you could remember which disclaimer goes with which slide? An automated reporting system will automatically apply disclaimers to relevant slides, making sure your firm is compliant with your industry’s laws and regulations.

5. Putting together a PowerPoint for an important pitch takes you days of sorting through hundreds of slides.

Staring at your computer screen wondering which folder those great looking slides are saved in is not a good use of your time or your firm’s resources. You need an automated reporting system with a slide library function. Not only will you have every slide ever built, you can update the charts, tables and text on those slides with a single click of a button.

6. Your clients typically call your office, get transferred a few times and then try and explain exactly what changes they want to this month’s client report.

Traditionally, servicing increasingly demanding clients means increasing the resources you allocate to your reporting teams. If you want to empower your clients with self-service tools, you will need an intelligent reporting system that can flex as your client needs change. If your client wants to add a section on macroeconomics, or drill down further on those attribution figures, let them.

7. You find your head in your hands having just realised all the graphs in your PowerPoint are just images and you need to update them all.

This can be another deadline destroyer. “Just add the latest months’ figures to that graph” can become a huge task if links are broken, or worse, it is simply an image file with no source attribution. An investment reporting solution with a dedicated PowerPoint module will allow you to amend graphs, slides, sections or the whole slide deck with a few clicks. Advanced systems will automatically create updated slide decks and distribute them to authorised users without the user even having to request them.

8. You constantly think to yourself, there must be an easier way to update all these documents.

If you are starting to think along these lines, then you have made the first step in looking at automation. Reporting technology doesn’t just make producing documents easier; it reduces the risk of manual errors; it shortens your reporting cycle and can provide real and significant returns on investment. Integrated workflow in advanced systems will give you clear milestones in complex reporting situations. Embedded dashboards provide immediate insight into progress, or the lack of it! You will also find it helps to clean your data, as anomalies stand out very quickly and can be traced to source with minimal effort.

9. You are starting to make deadlines by the skin of your teeth. Any more clients and you are in danger of breaching them.

This is something we see all the time. A firm has created a manual process which has grown in complexity as the firm has matured and taken on more clients. Often, due to economies, headcount has not increased in proportion and you have the same people trying to service hundreds of clients using word docs, hundreds of spreadsheets and hours of copy / pasting. The firm is doing well and wants to on board more and more clients. It’s the very last thing the team doing the reporting can cope with. A dedicated client reporting system will give you the bandwidth to on board as many clients as your firm can hope to get and provide them with relevant, up to date and actionable information at any frequency they require. Automation removes a key burden of client servicing.

10. You actually approach a service provider!

We don’t bite and most of us are at the very least house and office trained! The reason why we exist is to help firms such as yours. We provide solutions to needs that are normally too expensive or too time consuming to consider building in house. If your firm are experts in attaining assets under management and investing that money on behalf of clients, it is very unlikely you are also geared up for building advanced fintech solutions at the same time.

Factbook is a specialist investment reporting solution provider. It’s what we do. Give us a call today to discuss your needs; we may just have your solution.

Abbey Shasore, CEO Factbook.

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