IBM Cognos FSR
IBM Cognos FSR automates external and internal reporting processes
This “Last Mile” of Financial Statement production remains highly inefficient and time consuming. It exposes sensitive information to security risks and is prone to error. Generally, it lacks the controls, process flow and audit-ability required within an information sensitive corporate environment.
Manual processes and issues dominate “The Last Mile” such as;
- extensive use of MS-Word and MS-Excel, shared via e-mail
- data accuracy issues
- collaboration is difficult
- no internal controls
- no audit trail
- high degree of risk
- manual process is repeated each reporting period
There is also the mandate of XBRL submissions via the Standard Business Reporting (SBR) initiative involving a range of agencies and stakeholders in Australia. Each agency and stakeholder wants a ‘Different Cut” of the numbers and narrative, hence creating more challenges that require an adequate solution to these demands.
Many organisations have found the solution to these demands upon implementing IBM Cognos FSR capabilities. FSR provides an integrated external financial reporting process in which financial controls and reporting tasks are linked directly to the company’s financial statements. It creates a system of record for both the creation of external financial reports and disclosures, as well as financial compliance. The organisations are now able to:
- reduce compliance costs
- improve efficiency of the associated finance teams and auditors
- enable everyone to focus their attention on exceptions, issues, and key risks.
The market research firm, Nucleus, found that by implementing IBM Cognos FSR, organisations can achieve benefits that go beyond regulatory compliance given their new ability to automate the gathering of financial data and processing of numerous last-minute accounting changes. They found that the application enables accountants, report builders and their managers to be more productive.
In a nutshell, IBM Cognos FSR transforms the way finance/accounting/legal departments manage and deliver critically important financial and management reports. IBM Cognos FSR:
To learn more about IBM Cognos FSR capabilities ... click here to go to the Features Tab.
How to reduce the increasing costs of compliance
The manual nature of financial reporting means that as external reports and its requirements become more complex, more effort is required to create the reports and to manage the process. As a result, current staff must work longer hours or additional people are required to consolidate multiple spreadsheets, find and correct mistakes, manage compliance checklists, and coordinate the approval process – all of which lead to increased costs.
And CFOs see the costs of compliance manifested in several ways:
- internal personnel costs, both monetary and health-wise
- auditor fees
- graphic design fees
The solution ... Link source data to report data
Every number in the final report links directly back to a single data source ensuring that there are no conflicting numbers anywhere in the report. And changes to that source number automatically cascade through the report. This ensures there is only “one version of the truth”.
Easy to use
Most people are already familiar with Microsoft® Word and Microsoft Excel® . IBM Cognos FSR provides a user interface that leverages all of the formatting capabilities of Microsoft Word and all of the calculation abilities of Microsoft Excel.
Use prior report as a template for the next report
New reports typically contain the same sections as previous reports, reuse the same data sources (e.g. revenue, net income, etc.) and recreate the look and feel of past reports. IBM Cognos FSR uses this fact to “jump-start” the report creation process. The latest data is automatically loaded into a report template that is pre-formatted, letting the user focus on editing the document rather than collecting, consolidating and formatting the data.
IBM Cognos FSR provides a comprehensive audit trail – tracking each change to the document. With the IBM Cognos FSR audit trail, users can easily compare any two versions of the document to see what was changed, who changed it, and when it was changed.
IBM Cognos FSR can easily tag financial data and commentary once and have it automatically flow to future reports. The Taxonomy Manager, Taxonomy Editor and Taxonomy Designer extend your company-specific taxonomy to meet the latest filing regulations. And the XBRL Viewer lets users view the final XBRL report.
Integration with online resources
IBM Cognos FSR integrates with online research systems such as Thompson Reuters Tax and Accounting Checkpoint® platform. While creating external reports within IBM Cognos FSR, users can, for example, directly access analysis, official text of regulations and standards, searchable filings, and current news regulatory developments.
A workflow process within IBM Cognos FSR tracks the status of each section of the document, with due dates and responsibility assignments. With workflow, the administrator can easily see the status of each section of the document, which sections are overdue and who is responsible for each section.
IBM Cognos FSR supports a variety of output options including: Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint®, Adobe® PDF, Adobe InDesign, and optionally XBRL or “Edgar-ready” documents for filing.
Reduced personnel costs
Financial reporting departments are improving personnel efficiency and effectiveness. They now have the ability to pull data from multiple sources, built-in workflow & collaboration, multiple output options and a familiar user interface that leverages all the formatting capabilities of Microsoft Word and all the calculation abilities of Microsoft Excel. Key points are:
- workload reduction through more efficient processes
- reduction in overtime hours
- well-paid employees focused on high-return activities
- increased review time resulting in more ‘actionable’ insights into the business
Lower external costs
With built-in internal controls, audit trail and workflow, companies realize significant savings using IBM Cognos FSR by reducing the time spent by external resources in checking and then producing various reports. Key points are:
- reduction in auditor fees
- reduction in printer fees
- reduction in typesetting fees
Risks, including those associated with factual errors, late filing, insider leaks and non-compliance incidents, are avoided via IBM Cognos FSR workflow, collaboration, audit trail and central database features. Key points are:
- reduced risk of error
- reduced risk of late filing
- reduced risk of non-compliance
- reduced risk of insider leaks
Reduced cycle time
By automating the overall external reporting process to reduced production timelines, time is gained to conduct more comprehensive internal reviews, discussions and analysis, in plenty of time to meet filing deadlines. And a single version of the truth means not having to re-apply formulas and re-key data, resulting in increased confidence in “the numbers.” Key points are:
- less review time required
- fewer manual processes
So where do you start?
The Cortell team will work with you to identify your organisation’s biggest and highest priority challenges to kick off the initiative ... where processes within Last Mile Reporting have the greatest impact.
We look at your biggest problems, such as the daily battle with the data required to support your Last Mile Reporting processes, with emphasis on removing obstacles around:
- Complexity &
Last Mile Reporting usually has major issues with workflow, collation, calculation, analysis and management of data.
The current state is usually a labour intensive process that is:
- prone to errors
- an operational risk due to single person dependencies
- costly due to over complicated manual processes
- isolated from other core business processes.
This is a great place to start so typically we commence an initiative by conducting an initial FREE high level strategic review followed by a light Proof of Concept with your business stakeholders to showcase how we can remove these issues.
Cortell will have one of our Senior Business Consultants facilitate the workshop (a qualified Accountant) as an advisor to you and your team. The free assessment includes:
- A High Level Review of your As Is state for Last Mile Reporting
- A walk through of Case Studies/Best Practices on how other organisations are implementing and benefitting from improved and streamlined processes
- One-hour Features Demo on IBM Cognos FSR
- High Level Review of your desired To Be State and vision (after seeing Case Study, Best Practice & Demo scenarios)
- Summary document, including results from the assessment and recommendations on next steps.
Why start with Cortell?
Cortell Australia is a certified and award winning IBM Cognos Business Analytics Partner and Reseller. In fact for 2011, Cortell was awarded IBM's Business Analytics Partner of the Year for all of Asia Pacific.
Our consultants have delivered in excess of 850 different Business Analytics Applications to over 500+ customers.
Cortell have extensive budget, forecast and planning, cost management, activity based costing and internal/external reporting skills that have been applied to all industry sectors.
We work closely with external regualtors. For example we are on APRA's Early Adopters Progam for XBRL 2.1 reporting ... a new standard being mandated that is completely different to the current XBRL 2.0 reporting requirements.
FSR White Papers
The process typically starts with dozens if not hundreds of spreadsheets being extracted from a company’s financial systems, consolidated with other data and edited. Then these spreadsheets are emailed to several more people for their inputs. Version control is extremely difficult with this approach. And this swirl of spreadsheets inevitably leads to mistakes. It has to.
One example: a major financial institution made a $1 billion financial statement error because somebody made an unapproved change to a formula within the spreadsheet.
Twenty-three reasons why companies choose integrated XBRL
Companies around the world must determine how they will approach compliance with the mandated use of XBRL. Approached properly, XBRL can significantly accelerate financial reporting, decrease errors, streamline processes and ultimately, lower costs.
IBM Cognos Financial Statement Reporting (FSR)™
“Satisfying the multi-stakeholder challenges of the Last Mile of Finance”© FSN
IBM FSR Case Studies
Nucleus Research recently examined the use of IBM Cognos Financial Statement Reporting (FSR) at a major oil and gas producer to identify the benefits of using the application to create financial statements with XBRL tagging. Analysts found that Cognos FSR enabled the company to avoid service bureau printer costs and headcount growth while also improving accountant productivity.
LGC relies on IBM Cognos FSR (formerly Clarity FSR) for operational efficiencies and a reduction in regulatory risks
IBM Cognos FSR on YouTube
FSR Discussion/Quote/Demo Request
IBM Cognos Business Analytics software helps your organisation better understand, anticipate and shape business outcomes. You can achieve breakthrough results and outperform your competition.
Cortell Australia will engage your team with senior business consultants who will help you assess which capabilities within IBM Cognos' Business Analytics derive the most business value.
We offer an initial high level assessment followed by a customised demo and quotation. We can also help you build your internal business case.
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