Narrative Reporting Is in Demand and Financial Reporting Lacks Automation, According to New Research

Narrative Reporting Is in Demand and Financial Reporting Lacks Automation, According to New Research
27.03.2017 10:30 am

Narrative Reporting Is in Demand and Financial Reporting Lacks Automation, According to New Research

Data , Audit and Reporting

Among top headaches of financial reporting 200+ respondents mention time-intensive processes, lack of automation, integration of data sources and last-minute changes

Tagetik, a leader in global performance management software solutions, today revealed the results of a research survey on corporate financial reporting and the associated processes and challenges: “Modern Financial Reporting Challenges – How Well Do Your Reports Meet Stakeholder Needs?”  One of the report’s key findings is that much of the reporting done by the finance organisation today includes significant amounts of narrative.

The survey, conducted during September 2016, had 202 managerial or executive respondents with responsibility for financial, corporate or regulatory reporting. Thirty-one percent of respondents worked for organisations with $1B or more in revenue, 29% worked for organisations with revenues ranging from $300M to $999M in revenue and 39% were with organisations with $299M or less in revenue. 


A key finding from the report was that 44% of respondents indicated that their reports have as much, or more, narrative information than financial information. 

This trend is juxtaposed with other survey results showing that most organisations do not have efficient tools and processes in place to automate information collection, report creation, review and approval, or validation. 

  • 95% of respondents still rely on Excel for report creation;
  • Stand-alone PowerPoint (65%) and Word (48%) are also heavily used; 
  • 96% of respondents use email to collect information for reporting;
  • 32% of respondents said their reports contain information from six or more different sources;
  • 30% of respondents involve four or more departments in the reporting process.

“This shift from primarily number-focused reporting to more narrative-centric reporting is the result of an expectation for finance to provide much more than just accurate financial reports.  Finance should also be providing business insights and strategic guidance to executives and other stakeholders,” explained Dave Kasabian, Tagetik chief marketing officer.  “It is the narrative that tells the story behind the numbers and elevates the value of the information that finance delivers to both internal and external stakeholders.  The problem is that most finance organisations spend so much time collecting, consolidating and validating the numbers that they don’t have sufficient time to focus on the supporting narrative.”

“Given this disconnect, it’s not surprising that, according to the survey, a lack of automation and time-intensive preparation are respondents’ two biggest concerns, followed by lack of data integration and control and last-minute changes,” said Kasabian. “The survey also shows that almost 40% of respondents recognise that the workflow processes currently in place – for managing contributions, reviews and approvals – are inadequate.”

“Narrative is a highly important element of modern financial reporting,” said Manuel Vellutini,Tagetik co-CEO.  “Not only does it add colour to the black-and-white picture of a company’s financial state, but it also serves to provide the critical analyses and explanations behind the numbers to support business strategy.  Finance has a great opportunity to use the reporting process to deliver more value.  But they can’t do that with traditional reporting and analysis tools. Our Collaborative Office solution was designed specifically to address the challenges highlighted in this survey. Research like this helps us develop and deliver the solutions that finance needs to stay ahead of the curve.” 


To view the detailed survey results, along with a summary of key findings, click here

For a graphical summary of survey results, click here.

To read Kasabian’s most recent blog post, “Narrative Reporting:  Excel and reporting tools come up short”, click here.  

Related News

Saxo Bank announces white label partnerships with five Danish banks

Saxo Bank and five Danish SDC member banks (Sparekassen Vendsyssel, Sparekassen Thy, Middelfart Sparekasse, Frøs Sparekasse and Jutlander Bank... Read more »

Data-driven Business Operations are a Multi-year Plan for Two-thirds of Finance Professionals

Data-driven business operations are a multi-year plan for two-thirds of finance professionals (66%). Only 7% think their own organisation is already data-driven, while 14%... Read more »

Salt Edge’s data aggregation helps Zeeco calculate carbon emissions

Zeeco, a New Zealand fintech, teamed up with Salt Edge, a leader in offering open banking solutions, to access users’ bank data and automate... Read more »

High-speed, high-volume data transfer facilitated by 5G will enhance industrial operations in connected factories

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Role of 5G Communication Revolutionising Industrial Internet of Things, finds that the... Read more »

Forecast by Robocash Group: 5G will boost financial inclusion in emerging markets in Asia

Driving improvements in the digital space, 5G has accelerated financial inclusion in emerging markets in Asia. Analysts of the financial holding ... Read more »

Xignite sees record demand for financial data during pandemic

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology... Read more »

Free Newsletter Sign-up
+44 (0) 208 819 32 53 +44 (0) 173 261 71 47
Download Our Mobile App
Financial It Youtube channel