Sahira has received employee complaints about the lengthy time it takes for her team to create financial reports. Her team explains that the computers are the problem and that the software programs are too difficult to use and that many hours of manual manipulation of data are required to complete monthly reports (Colorado State University-Global Campus, 2014, p. 6, ¶3). The management dilemma can be described as: Delays in financial reporting? (Appendix, Worksheet box 1). Upon further examination, the specific management question to be addressed is: Can financial data management be made more efficient? (Appendix, Worksheet box 2). Consequently, the research questions are: 1) How to streamline data for financial reporting? and 2) Is a new accounting software system needed? (Appendix, Worksheet box 3). Finally, a key accounting and financial management theory at play here is that of efficiency in data management to improve efficacy and timeliness of financial reporting.
Management Dilemma: Delays in Financial Reporting
Financial reporting delays have long been a problem for companies (Abbas, 2009). In some instances reporting delays reach crisis levels, so that owners and shareholders, as well as senior management, do not have accurate and timely financial information on company performance (Pasquali, 2012). It is also not uncommon, as in Sahira’s case, that the data needed for financial reporting has not kept up with technology, requiring manual input or manipulation of the data, or “re-keying” of data into the company’s accounting software to produce financial reports (Financial Executive, 2012), and thus delaying the timeliness of financial reporting (Pasquali, 2012), and often resulting in errors in reporting (Karabinar & Yilmaz, 2012).
Management Question: Can Financial Data Management Be Made More Efficient?
A critical issue for timely financial reporting is data management: how easy does the raw data go into the company’s accounting systems? Bukevičius (2010) observes that “after the introduction of the records of the latest information technologies, accounting development trends…are often observed when this leads to an increase in workload of accounting staff” (p. 70). The information technology department’s data management efforts must be attuned to the needs of the company’s accounting software to avoid redundancies and duplicative effort (Badua & Watkins, 2011).
How to Streamline Data for Financial Reporting?
In order for financial reporting to be efficient, the company’s data management systems must be attuned to the needs of the accounting software (Bukevičius, 2010). Badua and Watkins (2011) define financial management data systems as “the union of various functional components interacting to produce information useful to financial statement users and firm managers” (p. 76). They then narrow the focus to “the joint deployment of traditional accounting processes and computer and telecommunications technology for...