Three Ways to Improve Financial Reporting

Numbers are the only universal language.
– Nathaniel West

Numbers are the language of business. We use them to tell us the real story of how our business is doing—growth, profitability, trends, highlights and challenges.

But getting access to the key numbers at the right time, that’s another matter. Accessing the data and creating financial reports has always been challenging, requiring a major investment of time and resources—whether your enterprise is small or large.

IT managers often require more than two days to prepare financial data for reporting. On the line-of-business side, many end users have a need for faster access to information, significantly impacting their organization.

With data volumes exploding and multiple systems of record that need to be consolidated, it is no surprise that financial reporting has become more complex. The question is what to do about it.

At Red Hat, we’re committed to helping our customers make their IT systems easier to manage and more responsive to their needs. In this case, our collaboration with SAP is a key to the solution. By combining the agility and performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with the speed and processing power of SAP HANA, companies can access enterprise-wide financial data in real-time.

While there are many ways that real-time information can improve financial reporting, below are three important ways companies are able to do so.

Improve Forecasting

Business forecasting allows companies to look at the impact of various scenarios based on different assumptions, so it’s important to have the ability to run multiple forecasts in a day. These forecasts can drive proactive business decisions or help to prepare for different outcomes based on things the company doesn’t control. Today’s large data volumes running on legacy systems can make this difficult since extracting data and running the forecasts can each take hours.

SAP HANA running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA can put organizations back on the fast track. By reducing data load times and processing reports in-memory and reducing forecast times, this solution can allow for the multiple forecasts companies need to manage their business.

Accelerate Cost-based Profitability Analysis (CO-PA)

Cost-based profitability analysis, or CO-PA, is an important part of managing many businesses on a daily basis. This type of financial reporting enables companies to group costs and revenues according to value fields and costing-based valuation approaches. Large enterprises can encounter difficulties since data needs to be pulled from many sources and can involve numerous cost centers. As result, daily reports can be incomplete or too late to be of use, leaving finance teams looking for work-around solutions.

The in-memory capabilities of SAP HANA running high-volume transaction reports like CO-PA provides the tools to help leaders and managers more quickly address problems and seize opportunities. Some companies that couldn’t get CO-PA reports to complete at all on their legacy systems can now have these reports almost immediately.

Achieve Faster Month-End Close

A financial reporting headache for many companies—both large and small—is closing the books at the end of the month. This can be an intensive undertaking for larger enterprises with numerous rows of data and a large number of people involved in the process. This can cause delays in a company’s month-end close and even, potentially, lead to questions about actual versus perceived performance.

For many large global companies, month-end close can take a week or more. SAP HANA running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA, with its ability to analyze large amounts of data in-memory, can reduce data extraction, processing, and loading times. As a result, month-end close timeframes can be greatly reduced.

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