Misplaced Confidence About Accuracy of Financial Data, Finds Research

Confidence is misplaced about the accuracy of UK organisations’ financial data, according to recent research by the commercial division of Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced) in partnership with SourceforConsulting (Source). Source surveyed 104 decision makers including senior financial professionals across UK mid-sized organisations, and conducted interviews with management consultants, to understand their experiences of creating and using financial information.

The findings from the research, ‘Making the Numbers Add Up – How Better Financial Accounting Can Support and Promote Growth’, reveal that the majority of financial professionals surveyed are confident that their accounts receivable (A/R), accounts payable (A/P) and general ledger (GL) data is correct (100%, 97% and 97% respectively). In addition, 77% have confidence in the accuracy of their fixed assets data.

However further analysis suggests that this confidence is misplaced with 42% of financial professionals admitting that their A/R data lags behind reality by more than one day, with 55%, 48% and 77% of respondents respectively stating the same about their A/P, GL and fixed ledger data. In addition, the majority of respondents acknowledge the use of spreadsheets as part of their processes for producing A/R, A/P, GL and fixed asset records, with a startling 77% of respondents using spreadsheets as part of both their A/R and GL processes.

Simon Fowler, managing director of Advanced, said: “Financial professionals are more confident than they should be about the accuracy of their financial data. With many survey respondents admitting that information is not updated in their finance system in real time and with the use of error-prone spreadsheets being widespread, it’s time for organisations to challenge their existing financial systems and processes.”

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