Best Financial Reporting Software in 2018

Financial reporting is a legal requirement for businesses. Businesses have to maintain a record of their finances, including the money they earn and spend during a financial period. Effective financial reporting requires compliance with the relevant accounting laws and standards and an accounting and finance software should provide the tools necessary for effectively generating financial reports. Every aspect of financial reporting will be categorized under this heading.  Read the full software guide...


Financial Reporting Software Guide

What is Financial Reporting Software?

Financial reporting is an important process for businesses of any size and industry. Companies need to be well-informed and updated on the financial status and performance of all the relevant factors of their business or group. As such, a financial report provides important information to managers, investors, and all the other important stakeholders.

Through proper and efficient financial reporting, businesses are able to analyze, plan, and benchmark their business processes to help them come up with sound decisions in regard to their finances.

In the past, companies used a lot of income statements, balance sheets, and other manual tools to facilitate their financial reports. Nowadays, however, the process is simpler, more efficient, and convenient with the help of financial reporting software.

These software solutions have made financial reporting an easier task because practically everything is automated. Instead of requiring a ton of paperwork or opening different spreadsheets and files, all that financial teams need to do is access the reports and updates in one central location. Everything is integrated into the software, so a significant amount of time (and labor) is saved.

In addition, financial reporting software also makes it easy for anybody in the finance and management team to add, format, extract, and add information.

Financial reporting software also helps to boost performance efficiency. Since all of the books and reports are in one place, checking for accuracy will no longer be a problem. As such, the quality of performance increases and work becomes more efficient.

The most common features of financial reporting software include the automation of processes (i.e. automatic billing, notifications for past dues, and recurring payments), invoicing and other basic accounting tasks, tax preparation, and templates for quotes and estimates. The majority of financial reporting software also provides access to multiple users.

It is essential to note that financial reporting software is not only for large companies, startups and small- to medium-sized businesses can also significantly benefit from using these solutions.


Types of Financial Reporting Software

There are a variety of financial reporting software solutions in the market. The selection of options is quite wide-ranging, from the most basic to the most complex.

As such, financial reporting software solutions can be categorized according to the features that they carry. For example, there are programs that provide mostly reports and information related to performance, costs, and other important factors. Financial reporting software under this category is called business intelligence (BI) software.

On the other hand, accounting software is something that accountants can make good use of. It helps them track and manage budgets and expenses, among other things.

Finally, there are tools for financial reporting that focus on resource management in addition to expenses and budget. These fall under the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software category.

The basic types of financial reporting tools, however, are based on the software’s deployment method. These are divided into three categories: cloud-hosted, on-premise, and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Cloud-hosted financial reporting software offers universal access because everything is in the cloud. It is also the preference of many users because it does not require the users to update the system themselves. In addition, there is no maintenance fee and it is quite affordable. In fact, it may even be the most affordable of the three basic deployment types.

On-premise financial reporting software, meanwhile, uses the local server of the client for hosting. This may not be a good option for first-time or non-tech-savvy users because the setup process can be complicated. In some cases, it may even require hardware installation. Aside from being an initially expensive option, on-premise financial reporting software is a single license tool.

SaaS financial reporting software uses the vendor’s server for hosting. Setup, installation, and maintenance are not the client’s responsibility, so first-time users need not worry about anything. In addition, payment is often on a monthly basis, which makes it a practical option even for those with a limited budget.


How to Choose Financial Reporting Software

As previously stated, there are a lot of options to consider when choosing financial reporting software. Therefore, it is important to first learn and understand what you need to look for before getting a specific financial reporting tool.

Determine what type of software your business needs

Before choosing a product, you need to know what exact kind of financial reporting software your business needs. Which type or category of solution best suits the company or users? Which one will be able to better help the company achieve its financial goals?

Remember, there are three main types of deployment (cloud-based, on-premise, and SaaS) and there are three core categories based on features (business intelligence, accounting, and ERP). Also, it is important to know if a particular software solution is intended for startups and small businesses, for medium-sized companies, or for large-scale enterprises.

Compare your choices

The next thing you need to do is to choose two or more products and study each of them. Then, you need to compare them to each other. This will give you the opportunity to study what each of your options offers and what they do not offer. Making a checklist is one of the best things you can do.

Check the features

While it is important to make sure the financial reporting software solution of your choice will allow you to use performance metrics such as cash flow statements, balance sheets, and profit and loss or income statements, there are other features the ideal software should possess.

It is crucial that the financial reporting software of your choice should have an easy-to-use dashboard. This is where the most relevant information and data are summarized and displayed.

Furthermore, good financial reporting software is easily customizable. It should allow you to change formats and layouts, as well as to add custom fields, among other things.

In addition, financial reporting software must be able to export data, such as from reports and the dashboard to PDF files before they are shared with others.

Also, integration is an important factor in financial reporting. As such, transferring data from one application to another should be easy.

Lastly, you also need to make sure the software you use allows multiple users to access the system. This is important because sharing reports will be easier, including tasks like tax filing and preparation.


Benefits of Financial Reporting Software

Financial reporting software is an ideal solution for businesses and organizations in need of tools or programs that can help improve efficiency and overall performance. In addition, workflow management will be streamlined because of the automated reporting process. Any company, regardless of size, that aims to make a mark in its industry will greatly benefit from these solutions.

Another positive contribution of financial reporting software is a simpler, easier to understand, and less time-consuming financial process. As everything is in one place only, there is no reason to waste time and effort in getting reports from different sources. Just a few clicks can do the trick. In addition, you are guaranteed to receive real-time updates.

Also, the best financial reporting software solutions offer features that allow you to work on and manage a wide variety of reports. Best of all, these reports are highly customizable, so you’re sure to use something that answers your specific needs.


Common Features of Financial Reporting

2-Factor Authentication Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.
Accounts Payable Keep on top of payables and manage what you owe to creditors and suppliers.
Accounts Receivable Track unpaid invoices and keep on top of what your customers and debtors owe you.
API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Balance Sheet A common financial statement used as a snapshot of a business's assets, liabilities and capital at a particular point in time.
Billing/Invoicing Issue bills and invoices to customers, often combined with tracking capabilities for outstanding payments.
Budgeting Planning and tracking capabilities for financial budgets and plans often used to manage funds across different departments or for investor / shareholder oversight.
Calendar Management Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.
CRM Integration This indicates whether integrations with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are supported by a software application.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Data Visualization Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.
Document Comparison Compare and contrast different versions of documents and browse revision histories to consolidate collaborative changes.
Expense Tracking Track employee travel and other expenses to stay on top of budgeting requirements and reimbursements.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Forecasting Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.
General Account Ledger Track transactions in the form of account information to prepare financial statements and reports.
Multi-Currency Support of different currencies for payments, accounting purposes, taxes, reports and more.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Payroll Manage employee payroll to keep track of taxes due to the government, pension schemes and payments to employees.
P&L Support for Profit & Loss statements in financial / accounting systems.
SAP Integration Integrates with common SAP services.
Scheduling Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.
Tax Management Manage tax payments and reporting requirements to ensure compliance with local or national taxation regulations.

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