For younger companies, spreadsheets can be an excellent stop-gap solution for many different applications. They perform valuable mathematical functions and are easy to use, store, and access. In smaller companies, they can even be successfully used to identify revenue and manage billing. However, in larger organizations, such methods simply can’t deliver the level of functionality required.
Growing companies, especially growing and public ones, must ensure that there are proper security measures and controls in place to guarantee financial data remains accurate and trustworthy. Senior executives and auditors in particular want assurance that consistent processes are being followed when a company’s financial data is processed, and that safeguards exist to prevent unauthorized users from tampering with these processes and associated data.
Spreadsheets have many advantages: almost everybody knows how to use them, and they are easily shared with larger groups of people. But those advantages can be a double-edged sword. Because they are relatively accessible and easy to modify, any data they contain is highly susceptible to human interaction. Limiting access is possible, but segmenting your user community and providing the appropriate level of read/write access to each employee can be a difficult and time-consuming process. However, the alternative is to leave your financial data open to a large group of users with the ability to introduce any number of errors.
Additionally, because these systems are so open-ended, enforcing consistent processes becomes very difficult. Even if such processes are documented, it takes only one rushed action or one poorly-trained employee to create deviations in a process that can have profound, long-lasting, and detrimental impacts on the accuracy of your financial data.
Finally, as these systems were not designed with revenue management in mind, they do not innately have the ability to record the history of recent actions. In the event of an audit, this could have serious consequences for your company.
No company should be taking the risks outlined above. The solution is to adopt systems that were specifically designed to systematize billing and revenue management processes. These systems come equipped with the necessary flexibility in security access, the necessary controls, and the audit trail needed to provide executives with the peace of mind that the data they, their auditors, and their investors require remains accurate and reliable.
A dedicated billing and revenue management system automates the entire revenue cycle, from revenue recognition, reporting, and forecasting, through complex billing and contract renewals. This system provides highly accurate data, enabling companies to optimize revenue, reduce operating expenses, and perform detailed analyses of their business performance. It is by far the most efficient way to handle financial services.
In addition, dedicated billing and revenue management systems simplify the process of generating revenue recognition data, an essential element for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements and other government regulations.
For additional information about dedicated billing and revenue management systems and how they can simplify your accounting procedures and help your bottom line, see our newest white paper, “Improving Billing and Revenue Management: A Guide for Getting Off Spreadsheets.”