Consolidating an organization’s accounting figures and reporting forms is very complex task, especially for larger organizations with subsidiaries on different markets. Also, smaller companies experiencing rapid growth might also struggle with consolidation due to lacking structures in place.
So, what are the main obstacles to successfully consolidating a company’s financial statements? We’re listing some of the common road bumps when consolidating the accounts of a parent company and its subsidiaries.
But first, a definition. Within finance and accounting, “consolidation” refers to the process of combining assets, equity, liabilities, and operating accounts into one financial statement, most often those of a parent company and its subsidiaries. Now, on to the list of challenges.
1. Using inappropriate tools and systems
Many companies, even large organizations, use Excel to perform budgeting and reporting on a group level. This requires a lot of manual work for the finance department, since they need to gather, screen, and control all data in the spreadsheets and consolidate them on a group level. This is not only burdensome, but also involves a great deal of risk due to potential errors.
2. Multiple ERP systems
Many companies use multiple business systems, each one collecting different data. When the ERP systems lack integration, data collection becomes a manual task, delaying work and increasing the risk of errors.
3. Chart of account
Even if the companies in the group use the same ERP system, the chart of account can still differ from company to company. In that case, the finance department will need to manually adjust the chart of account to consolidate the statements.
4. Different currencies
Dealing with different currencies is often a reality, which can cause issues if the currency conversions aren’t properly handled in the system.
Manual elimination of internal transactions can be time-consuming and complex if the system in place doesn’t support automatic elimination.
In a consolidation, it’s necessary to adjust numbers on a group level, which is rarely done in an ERP system. For example: goodwill depreciation or adjustments made in accordance with various regulations and principles, i.e., IFRS.
Realizing that consolidation is complex
It is important to understand that consolidation does not happen with the click of a single button. It is a rigorous exercise that requires accurate data, thorough project management with all stakeholders involved, and, of course strict compliance with governing regulations.
Despite these challenges, consolidation can be done properly when avoiding the above pitfalls, and with the right systems in place. With insightplanning by insightsoftware, it’s possible to manage consolidation when setting up budgeting and reporting features. We have experience in implementing both operational and legal consolidation.
In the insightplanning solution, groups can integrate their existing systems and data sources so that all their companies are directly connected to the insightplanning budgeting, reporting, and analytics platform. Furthermore, inside the solution, the group can create a common accounting language and map local accounts to the group chart of accounts. Currency conversions, eliminations, and adjustments are all supported by insightplanning’s functionality.
Interested in how insightsoftware can help your company perform successful consolidation when implementing your budgeting and reporting solution? For more information, please contact us.