Become an External Reporting Hero

By Josh Feldman. Financial reporting professionals are tasked with keeping a lot of people happy - your CEO, your board, your shareholders, and your staff. Determining the best way to present accurate, accessible and interactive financial data to all of your key stakeholders can make you stand out as the reporting champion in your office. Sounds great, right? Here’s a few tips to help you and your team become external reporting all-stars.

Say No to Manual Data Entry

laptopEliminating manual processes is one of the first steps to minimizing risk and increasing confidence in your financial documents. Not only is manual entry a slow and cumbersome process, but it introduces another opportunity for error. Look for ways to automate the flow of data from your source documents into your financial reports.

Take a Look at Your Peers

When conducting peer analysis, there are some standard, and some not-so standard, key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be including in your research including: Current Ratios, Return on Assets, Turnover Ratios, Debt to Equity, and Dividend Yield. XBRL tagging provides financial reporting teams with the capability to find these answers quickly and accurately. Be sure to use this publicly-available data to your advantage.

Step Up Your XBRL

learningXBRLXBRL makes your financial story more interactive. Don’t be caught a step behind – take advantage of the resources available to build up your knowledge and get your Masters in XBRL. Visit websites like XBRL US in order to stay current on XBRL, and contribute to the development of XBRL standards by providing comments on proposed guidance from the US Center for Data Quality. Certent also provides educational resources such as 5 Fundamentals of XBRL and our XBRL checklist to help make it easier.

Improve Your Team Collaboration

Four Businesspeople At Boardroom Table Watching PresentationCollaboration and communication is effortless when you have the ability to access the same document at the same time - allowing your team to maintain one version of your company’s financial truth. The ability for team members to work simultaneously on your SEC document will not only lead to a higher quality document, but also a faster turnaround. Be sure to track changes made in the documents. It’s imperative to know what changes have been made when and by whom to maintain a sense of quality control. Modern day tools, such as Certent's Disclosure Management solution, allow for effortless collaboration – allowing your team to maintain and update only one version of the truth, all at once.

Do you have tips for other ways to master external reporting? Post a comment and let us know what you’re doing to tackle your XBRL challenges! And don’t forget to check out Certent’s Five Ways to Become a Financial Reporting Hero!

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