Beginning in January, we posted a blog outlining five important reasons why excel spreadsheets were not to be trusted for implementation of the ASC 606 guidelines. Since then, we have extended that blog post into a series devoted to the topic of Excel, focusing each post to one of the five reasons. This month’s FINALE: “Excel is not a Reporting Tool”.
Quick recap of what was said about reporting in our original blog post:
"Excel is not a reporting tool: How much flexibility is there in an Excel report? Are your revenue analytics presented in a way that is both intuitive and clear? Pivot tables and charts are nice, but could you do better? What about a deferred waterfall or a reconciliation report with the capability to drill down into details at the line item level? Automated revenue recognition software solutions provide analytics tools with customizable reports designed by you, as well as fully functioning dashboards with point and click configurations set to your specificity with drill down to the most granular level of your data."
I've exhausted all my arguments against Excel spreadsheets, sans this one. I've saved the best for last, though, because what are we really managing our revenue for, anyways? To better understand and grow our businesses. And if we don't analyze how the decisions we make affect our bottom lines, then we won't be able to do that. My point? Analytics are at the crux of revenue management.
With that in mind, think about your current analytics situation. If you're using Spreadsheets to manage your revenues, you're likely pulling out pivot tables or data tables with very limited flexibility. Either that, or you're pushing it into another system to handle reporting. Regardless, the notion that your revenue management system isn't comprehensively and efficiently reporting on your revenue under management is the key here.
Picture this: You pull up a quick graphical dashboard of what's going on in your world of Revenue. Your dashboard highlights only your key concerns - revenue recognized to date on your open contracts with some of your biggest customers, the invoices matched to date on those contracts, and maybe the capitalized costs you've booked against those same contracts. You now know that for your company's widget department alone you're expecting to recognize 15% more revenue than you did last month. What changed? You simply click into any one of these open contracts or deferred revenue schedules to understand that a major customer renewed a long-term contract, and another sale came in for a hefty order or your best product. Now you can congratulate that sales associate, call that existing customer, and make sure all your remaining contracts are still smoothly underway. ASC 606 guidance? Complex allocations? Significant Financing Component? Exchange Rates? Not a concern.
The only way to make this happen, though, is to find a solution that can provide those flexible dashboards and readily available reports as quickly as it recognizes the revenue. Reports should be updated in real time, to reflect the true balances in your Accounts Receivable, Deferred Revenue, and Sales accounts (among others). What about contract assets and liabilities? These accounts that have created so much buzz amongst Revenue Accountants need to be handled and reported on autonomously as well.
Now of course this all sounds ideal, but it couldn't be that easy, right? Wrong. SOFTRAX Revenue Manager is fully integrated with a BI reporting tool that allows you to manage your business through strong and flexible analytics. Slicing and dicing data in the way that fits your evolving and growing business needs is crucial to your decision-making process, so why not invest in the solution that provides you with an intuitive tool to do so?
Take the stress out of revenue management. Invest in a solution that provides a comprehensive reporting and analytics tool. Making the necessary changes to your internal systems mitigates security risks associated with human and technological resources. You should be focused on managing your revenues – not your spreadsheets.