PLEASANTON, Calif.— December 19, 2008 — If it’s taking your company more than a week to close its books each month or quarter, you should start looking for ways to speed up the process. There are two main sources of value from a “Fast Clean Close” (one that achieves both speed and accuracy). One is effectiveness: performance data – the “actuals” – gets into the hands of executives and managers sooner, making the information that much more actionable. The other is efficiency. Better design and execution of the closing process means finance departments can allocate fewer hours to this mechanical task and therefore spend more time on higher value activities. But how do you begin improving your closing process, what improvements (if any) do you need to make to your use of information technology and which are the best practices?
Ventana Research has drawn on years of research benchmarking thousands of finance organizations to create an online best practices education portal. The portal provides insight into how companies can improve their financial close, making it more effective and efficient. It highlights ways to improve your use of information technology to support financial performance management efforts and the closing process. Ventana Research has found a majority of companies underutilize or misuse their IT resources and may not have the practical and affordable tools they need. The “Fast Clean Close Best Practices Research and Education Portal” is the next in the series of online education portals drawing on the extensive financial management research conducted by Ventana Research.
A “Fast Clean Close” is central to getting timely, actionable and accurate information to key executives and other decision makers. Defining the right process is critical, yet companies also must have the right information technology tools to support a rapid and accurate close. Unfortunately, we find many people in finance departments are not aware that better use of software and data can shorten their close. IT professionals, who may know a great deal about the technology, are not familiar enough with the process to be of much practical help. The portal seeks to bridge this gap, providing valuable knowledge derived from our research and experience. It is especially important for finance organizations because it can help them create an action plan to make a more rapid close feasible. “Most companies that take more than a week to close their books know they can do better, commented Robert D. Kugel, SVP of Research at Ventana Research. “By focusing on achieving a fast, clean close, some CFOs and controllers have been able to achieve significant improvements. Still, there are too many companies that waste time and resources on a process that is not all that difficult to improve.” The Portal for Best Practices provides finance professionals the benefit of years of benchmarking research to help them to operate more efficiently and increase the value they bring to their corporation.
Ventana Research is making the Best Practices Research and Education Portal available to members of its community to help bring deeper industry and technology insight to them. Access to the Portal is available online at http://www.ventanaresearch.com/bpp/fccbpp.The Best Practices Research and Education Portal is sponsored by financial performance management provider, Cognos, an IBM company (www.cognos.com). Its content is the product of benchmark research, decades of experience on organizations across all major industries. Those interested in learning more about the value of financial focused benchmark research can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Ventana Research
Ventana Research is the leading benchmark research and advisory services firm. We provide expert guidance to help organizations manage and optimize performance – to become not only more efficient but more effective. Our unparalleled insights and best practices guidance are based on our rigorous research-based benchmarking of people, processes, information and technology across business and IT functions worldwide. The combination we offer of benchmark research, rigorous market coverage and in-depth knowledge of hundreds of technology providers means we can deliver business and technology education and expertise to our clients where and when needed. Ventana Research provides the most comprehensive analyst coverage in the industry; more than 2.5 million business and IT professionals through our community of 85,000 professionals and network of media and association partners around the world benefit from Ventana Research’s insights. Ventana Research focuses on business and technology trends and best practices that maximize organizations’ potential to perform while reducing the time, cost and risk and still achieve optimal outcomes. To learn how Ventana Research advances the maturity of organizations use of information and technology through benchmark research, education and advisory services, visit www.ventanaresearch.com.
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