Aligning Financial Reports:
The primary purposes of financial systems are to provide information to interested parties. Any reports produced through the financial management process must therefore align with the particular needs of these parties.
These parties are commonly called 'stakeholders' as they have some interest in the business as either direct owners, creditors with an interest in the financial position of the business, or the users of information under a statutory obligations such as the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
They can be broken down into Internal and External users.
- Business owners
- Management (department heads)
- Relevant personnel within the organisation who may have a requirement to comply with certain financial requirements
- Statutory entities (ATO, Office of Consumer and Business Affairs, Australia Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Securities and Investment Commission)
- Financial Institutions (Banks)
- Suppliers (who requires evidence of financial performance prior to offering credit)
- External Investors (if not involved in the day to day running of the organisation)
As the various classes of stakeholders all have differing requirements for information, financial reporting should align closely with those various requirements.
A report produced for the purposes of providing information to the ATO will be markedly different than that prepared for the purposes of management evaluation.
Other types of reports may include:
- Sales reports: settled sales for the particular period, usually required by the principal and head of sales department
- Sales in progress reports: properties under contract but not yet settled
- Listing reports: properties listed during the particular period
- Outstanding deposits: those contracts where purchasers are yet to provide a deposit (placing the sale in jeopardy)
- New managements (property management): those properties new on the rent roll
- Lease renewals: renewed leases
- Rent arrears reports: those properties with rental payments in arrears
In relation to internal parties, it would be prudent to engage the input of all staff to gauge particular requirements.
Similarly, in relation to external stakeholders, outside assistance should be sought to ensure the peculiar requirements of the various statutory bodies/financial institutions are taken into account. This is especially so given such requirements routinely change.
Only once all the requirements are established can the organisation properly develop a financial system which will meet those demands.