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Thought Leadership

The Impact of Covid-19 on the role of the Group Financial Controller

Posted by David Jones on Wed, Oct 28, 2020 @ 08:10 AM

On September 29th Column5 hosted a quarterly meeting of the UK100 Group Financial Controllers (GFC) forum on the web. This is a quarterly meeting that Column5 hosts to give GFC’s from the UK’s largest listed Companies opportunity to hear from experts about topics of mutual interest, network and share experiences. This meeting was to understand how Covid-19 was impacting their role as GFC’s, how well prepared they felt when the lock-down arrived in late March 2020 and what they plan to change going forward, particularly given the likelihood of more home working over the next 6 months due to Covid-19, and whether there will be permanent changes to their role as GFC going forward. 

Key Take-Aways: 

Key elements of the discussions are set out below and make an interesting read, but everyone agreed that the key points to take away were: 

Topics: Financial Close, Financial Information Management, User Experience

3 Key Findings from the Close Cycle Rankings 2016 You Need to Know

Posted by David Jones on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 @ 08:08 AM

Does Unilever breakthrough into the Global Top 10 for speed of year end reporting herald a dramatic shift in European reporting efficiency? Sadly not.

The summary report for our annual Close Cycle Ranking research has just been published. It contains research into Q4/Year End Financial Results announcements for the year ending 31st December 2015 for over 1,000 of the world’s largest corporations.

Topics: Financial Close

A Great Financial Consolidation Solution for Statutory and Regulatory Reporting in Complex Multinational Organisations

Posted by Paul Coleman on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 @ 09:02 AM

SAP has a portfolio of Consolidation solutions with their own unique positioning and the SAP Financial Consolidation (FC) software is an enterprise solution offered to companies looking to improve and speed up their financial close – without sacrificing quality control and compliance.

FC became part of the SAP EPM portfolio through the acquisition of BusinessObjects in 2007.  BusinessObjects itself acquired the French software vendor Cartesis who originally marketed Financial Consolidation as Cartesis Magnitude.  With a large and loyal customer base throughout Europe and Japan, FC has a particularly strong focus on statutory consolidation requirements within large multinational organisations that have complex and evolving corporate structures across multiple reporting standards (e.g. IFRS and local GAAP).

Topics: Best Practices, Analytics, Consolidation, Financial Close, Value

Ready for the Year-End Close? Conduct the Orchestra and Make Beautiful Music

Posted by David Jones on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 @ 09:12 AM

Christmas is almost here and some of you have no doubt already started your Q4/year-end close processes. The question for today’s blog is, are you really ready for your year end? For many, the close process is still tough and painful, while others ease through the year end with a well-rehearsed, automated, finely tuned and well-managed process. That’s pretty clear from our Close Cycle Rankings Research for 2014, where the fastest of the 500 largest companies in the world to report global consolidated results managed to consolidate, close and report in just 12 elapsed days after the year end, while the slowest took an astonishing 120 elapsed days.

Topics: Best Practices, Thought Leadership, Financial Close

The Road to Continuous Improvement is Paved One Good Idea at a Time

Posted by Rick Bryant on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 09:11 AM

In one of my previous blogs, “Where do you go to find answers to your BPC questions?” I talked about the how most customers don't know where to find information on BPC. In addition to my own company's website, I pointed to a blog written by a colleague that does a good job of highlighting the various sources of BPC information.  Over the intervening months we've been working on some pretty exciting stuff here at Column5 that I think will do great things for BPC and the greater EPM community. 

Topics: Best Practices, Training, Financial Close, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation)

What’s the ROI of Your BPC Implementation?

Posted by Rick Bryant on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 @ 14:10 PM

“Is our BPC implementation working well?  How are competitors using the same software?  What are the best practices?  What is the ROI?”

Topics: Center of Excellence, Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Financial Close, Value, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation)

Column5 Launches the “Close Cycle Rankings 2014” in North America

Posted by David Jones on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

Column5 is pleased to be sponsoring the North American edition of the “Close Cycle Rankings 2014” in conjunction with our research partners EPM International. This research is now available to our clients.

For the last 10 years EPM International (EPMi) has compiled information from publicly available sources on the elapsed days taken to report Q4/year-end results and obtain the annual audit report sign-off for over 1,000 of the world’s largest companies, including the New York Stock Exchange Top 100.

Topics: Best Practices, Thought Leadership, EPM Maturity, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Financial Close, Forecasting

Budget and Forecast – Are They The Same?

Posted by Martin Lloyd on Mon, Feb 03, 2014 @ 09:02 AM

When we report on actual data we are clear what we are looking at: the data will have been taken from our transaction systems and will have been produced in agreement with generally accepted accounting standards.  It will represent the actual performance of the organisation. But when we look at budget or forecast data are we as clear what the data represents?

Topics: Center of Excellence, Thought Leadership, Financial Close, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation), Forecasting

BPC Heaven vs. Excel Hell

Posted by Rick Bryant on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 @ 09:01 AM

Way back in 2009 while I was working in the EPM practice at SAP I routinely cited a Gartner survey stating that 70% of organizations still relied on spreadsheets for their budgeting, planning and forecasting processes when speaking with customers or at events. Fast forward four years to 2013 and amazingly a new Aberdeen study found that a whopping 89% of organizations use spreadsheets for these processes! What gives? We've all heard over and over about the pitfalls of using spreadsheets for these processes, often referred to as “Excel Hell”.  The bottom line is that business users love spreadsheets for their ease of use and flexibility.  So how do we let business users continue to use their tool of choice AND have the qualities of a planning system such as security, workflow, common formulas and logic, a single source of data, multi-dimensional analysis, etc.?

Topics: Center of Excellence, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Analytics, Financial Close, Implementation, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation)

The Fast Financial Close: It's Not Just About Speed

Posted by Rick Bryant on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 @ 08:02 AM

There have been many articles, white papers and webinars discussing the merits of accelerating the financial close process. And why not? According to a 2009 survey, since Sarbanes-Oxley was instituted, 52% of the 100 largest U.S. corporations added an average of five days to their close cycles. Of course, increased regulatory requirements are just one aspect leading to increased close times.

Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Financial Close, Value, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation)


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