Topics: Record-to-report cycle

Reimagining Financial Reporting: Record to Report Services Trends for 2024

Posted on October 31, 2023
Written By QX Global Group

Record to Report Services Trends for 2024

As someone who closely follows the financial space, you must have seen companies’ stock rise as they release positive quarter-end or year-end results. You must have also read analyses from reputed analysts discussing businesses in specific sectors as perfectly positioned for growth. Do you know what drives such positive news cycles about companies, which in turn drives their success story? It is accurate financial reporting! 

This impact that financial reporting has on a business makes record to report R2R services such a critical arm of finance and accounting. Let’s learn from the trends that dominated 2023 and are set to play a crucial role in 2024.

What financial reporting trends of 2023 are still relevant in 2024?

  1. Integration of Diverse Data

    If you thought financial reporting was a complex exercise, here’s some news for you; it can get even more complicated with reporting that includes finance and non-finance data. Organisations today are being asked to offer the big picture and holistic view of business impact, and this way, data from various sources must be integrated into financial reports.
    But there is another element to financial reporting wherein there is a need to look beyond just traditional information such as liabilities, assets, and other information along the same lines. CFOs now want these reports to cover the new growth opportunities for their business and the various risks and opportunities that have the potential to stall or drive a business’s growth. Economic headwinds or tailwinds now need to be factored into financial reporting, which makes record to report R2R services even more critical for a company, which also means you need to make this function even more efficient.  

  2. March Towards Automation

    If you haven’t yet made a business case for automation, you are on the wrong train. Automation has tremendous ROI potential and needs to be leveraged effectively in financial reporting. This reporting process is ongoing, and you will want different reports to be available on-demand whenever you, the C-suite, or other vital stakeholders need them. A legacy manual-centric financial reporting approach is time-consuming, and the many repetitive tasks that are part and parcel of such reporting, like data extraction or consolidation, will cannibalise valuable man-hours of your accountants.
    This is why software solutions with a huge automation component are garnering attention, as they are making financial reporting much more effortless. R2R can happen in real time, with minimal or zero inaccuracies, and drive the creation of more reliable and insightful reporting. Additionally, automation results in significant cost savings from the headcount or the associated infrastructure perspective.

  3. A Focus on Sustainability

    Governments across the world, including the UK, are serious about framing and enforcing sustainability reporting rules. CFOs are increasingly called upon to integrate Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) data in their financial reports. Investors and analysts are now benchmarking the strengths and weaknesses of a sector and a business within that sector on its ability to meet specific ESG standards. Measuring the impact of business operations on the environment is a critical foundational element of a business’s reputation.
    Why does it make sense for businesses to reimagine the alignment of R2R services to cover ESG metrics? It does because the investors and analysts going through these financial reports will also like to ensure that your business won’t be penalised because it doesn’t meet government expectations and regulations for environmental sustainability and governance standards. The need of the times is that companies can go beyond looking at financial health from the prism of profits and showcase that they are investing the money earned in a range of initiatives that propagate equality environment friendliness and help build a better community.

  4. Record to Report Services Through the Prism of Cost Optimisation

    It’s been a few years since businesses experienced the pandemic-driven economic downturn. Still, it taught businesses the value of seeing the improvement of a business’s operational efficiency through the lens of cost efficiency. Even in the case of financial reporting and, by extension, R2R, they want to enhance the process but still save costs. For many, improving headcount or investing in new technologies incurs additional costs and might not be a viable option.
    The answer lies in finance and accounting outsourcing, wherein a specific function is outsourced to a provider with expertise and experience in managing that particular function. So, whether it is R2R services accommodation or R2R for any other domain, getting work done through an outsourced accounting department is ideal. Outsourcing has been an evergreen trend, but businesses are seeing it in a new light now as a hedge against market ups and downs.

What emerging trends are likely to dominate the R2R function in 2024? 

  1. Democratised Generative AI: Generative AI is becoming more accessible thanks to pre-trained models, cloud computing, and open-source platforms, which could significantly impact the R2R process by making vast sources of information — internal and external — accessible and available to business users​.
  2. AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management: With the democratisation of AI, there’s an increasing need for AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management to ensure the accuracy and trustworthiness of data, which is crucial for the R2R process​.
  3. On-Demand Close: The notion of on-demand close is mentioned as the future for R2R, which likely refers to leveraging digital technologies to enable real-time or faster financial closing processes​.  

Maximise R2R Potential  

To implement the trends aligned with your needs to improve the operational efficiency of your financial reporting, it can be helpful to partner with a firm that keeps up with the trends and has the skillsets to implement them.  

QX harnesses process optimisation, talented accounting experts, and bleeding-edge technology to help organisations transition to a new and improved R2R paradigm. The focus is on ushering in a new era of R2R efficiency backed by standardisation, digitisation, and cost optimisation.

FAQs – Revisiting the Basics of R2R Services

Q. What are the benefits of record-to-report services?

Ans: So why is it important to follow trends in financial reporting? Why is there a need to reimagine the record to report process or improve it? The answer lies in the benefits this move brings to the table: 

  • Close books faster by being able to standardise processes and timely reporting 
  • Get better and timely insights into the financial health of your business for faster and more informed financial decision-making 
  • Ensure compliance with demanding regulations for financial reporting and accounting activities.  
  • R2R ensures a consistent reporting methodology for gathering, validating, and reporting sensitive financial data  
  • Effectively measure business performance and also support your tax reporting efforts. Tax professionals can quickly assess tax liabilities, implement tax strategies to help pay taxes on time, and deploy a tax saving plan.  

Q. What are the challenges faced in the R2R process?

Ans: One of the key reasons why it is essential to follow the latest trends in financial reporting is to improve the R2R process and address some of its challenges, which include, but are not limited to: 

  • Inability to adhere to a set method of data extraction, collection, validation, and consolidation 
  • Failure to leave a traditional and manual approach to recording that can be time-intensive and prone to errors 
  • Inability to ensure data reliability and accuracy that results in wrong insights passed on to key stakeholders
  • Failure to assign a dedicated team of accountants to the R2R function results in a team that works under tremendous pressure, which means their work is not up to the mark
  • Incapacity to implement the latest technology like automation and AI in the R2R process that can not only speed up the record to report services but also improve accuracy and simplify the whole process
  • Lack of ability to monitor the R2R process and implement changes that improve reporting speed, quality, and accuracy
  • Inability to quickly scale the R2R process to meet the growing needs of the business, which means the recording and subsequent reporting always fall short of expectations 

Originally published Oct 31, 2023 05:10:05, updated Apr 16 2024

Topics: Record-to-report cycle

Don't forget to share this post!

Related Topics

Mastering AP Automation: A Guide to Strategic Upskilling

Mastering AP Automation: A Guide to Stra...

24 May 2024

Introduction The accounts payable (AP) automation market is set to surpass $US 7.5 billion by 2030. ...

Read More
How Does Financial Services Outsourcing Drive Digital Transformation

Maximising Digital Finance Transformatio...

23 May 2024

Introduction Digital transformation in finance is picking up pace. Finance’s evolution from being ...

Read More
The 8 Stages of the Essential Order-to-Cash Process Explained

The 8 Stages of the Essential Order-to-C...

23 May 2024

Introduction Gaining new customers is a significant achievement that demands coordinated efforts acr...

Read More
How an Outsourced R2R Process Can Boost a CFO’s KPIs

How an Outsourced R2R Process Can Boost ...

22 May 2024

Introduction Record-to-report or R2R Services have moved beyond being just a checklist item within t...

Read More