16 Aug Next Generation Financial Consolidations
Corporate accounting has long been viewed as custodian and curator of financial data. However, whether it’s bringing the data together or distributing the financial results broadly, the financial consolidation process has long been an onerous drudgery of information assembly, validation, and reporting. The consolidation process for many corporate accounting groups is sometimes measured in months, often measured in weeks, but rarely measured in days. Consolidated financial statements group together all the related entities (locations, divisions, subsidiaries, legal structures, etc ) that are under a single parent company’s control. This gives the reader a unified “operational” view of the consolidated entities. In this guide, we discuss next generation financial consolidations.
The financial stakeholders of the parent organization want and need to understand how management has allocated capital and resources into the various lines of business to generate a return. Consolidation eliminates all inter-group activities and balances to report transactions with external third parties as if the entire group of companies was operating as a single entity.
Different legal entities (e g , companies, partnerships, funds) are created by a parent company for a range of reasons and purposes Some are legally driven (e g , limited liability), others are tax driven (e g , optimizing the tax profile), and yet others are strategically driven (e g , international expansion, mergers, and acquisitions). Regardless of the origin of these entities, it doesn’t take long before the corporate organizational chart begins growing tentacles of various subsidiaries and subsidiaries of subsidiaries.
The pace and complexity of today’s business environment is driving financial executives to shift their financial management solution to a system of intelligence, rather than a system of record, a critical part of which is access to continuous, accurate, consolidated financial reporting.
If consolidated financial statements are the desired and necessary outcome to meet stakeholder and regulatory reporting needs, then working backwards, we can chronicle the consolidation process and discuss the challenges of aggregating the balances and transactional activity from the business units. This will set the stage for discussing an approach for improving not only the financial consolidation process, but also augment the analytical and real-time reporting capabilities of the finance