6 Best Financial Reporting Software: Ultimate Guide

Finance Leadership

Accounting teams have a lot on their plate. With the progress of technology, financial teams have transformed from providing mainly back-office tasks to supporting businesses with insights and key strategic decision-making capabilities. As such, financial reporting software makes it possible for finance teams to handle all their responsibilities efficiently, accurately, and automatically.

Coming Up

1. What is Financial Reporting Software?

2. What is the Best Financial Analysis Software?

3. What are Current Financial Reporting Trends?

4. What are Key Features of Financial Reporting Software?

5. What are Types of Financial Reporting Software?

6. What are the Benefits of Financial Reporting Software?

7. What are Key Purchase Considerations for Financial Reporting Software?

8. Wrap Up

What is Financial Reporting Software?

Financial reporting software refers to technological solutions that help teams accomplish finance and accounting tasks. From single-entry bookkeeping software to complex double-entry systems that integrate with existing technologies, financial reporting automation boosts productivity.

Financial reports are necessary to provide business leaders and stakeholders with the information they need to make smart decisions. Additionally, they are often regulated, so the accuracy of data is key. That’s just a part of why financial statement analysis software and reporting automation tools are so useful.

What is the Best Financial Analysis Software?

When it comes to financial analysis software, there’s no shortage. But, they do stack up differently against one another. So, it’s best to find the right tool that has the features you need (we’ll get back to this later). First, let’s review some of the key contenders in the market.

1. FreshBooks

FreshBooks offers cloud finance and accounting software for small business owners. It’s known to help small business owners streamline invoicing and invoice tracking. From the creation of professional invoices to automating follow ups, the software is able to integrate with existing apps like Shopify, PayPal, and G Suite, to name a few.

2. NetSuite

NetSuite is an ERP platform that is well suited for medium-sized and large enterprises. The platform provides: inventory management, order management, financial management, revenue management, and more. The system creates financial reports using its revenue recognition management module.

3. QuickBooks

QuickBooks is a robust accounting solution that’s geared towards small businesses, freelance bookkeepers, and startups alike. It features tools such as: tax calculation, invoice management, sales monitoring, and expense tracking, among others.

QuickBooks is accessible via mobile or desktop and starts for as low as $25/month. QuickBooks also automates data collection so that all financial information is always up-to-date.

4. Sage

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a cloud-hosting application that provides users with a dashboard full of data. The dashboards allow users to visualise transactions and can import bank statements so it’s easy to oversee banking and cash flow.

Small businesses benefit from automatic invoicing, multiple reporting options, to do lists, and unlimited support. The solution starts for as low as $10/month.

5. Board

Board provides reporting and analytics so users can visualise data and predict future trends. The system can be primed to analyze information according to your team’s workflow and provides automated drill downs for data exploration.

Board is also a planning tool with scenario testing, which helps when a business is looking to create a new product or enter a new market, for example.

6. Xero

Xero offers small and medium sized business online accounting solutions. Running on the cloud, users have access to their data from anywhere, and Xero is designed to adhere to compliance and regulations.

The lowest plan starts at $5.50 a month. With Xero, users can take advantage of: bank reconciliation, inventory management, payroll, electronic billing, financial reporting, and more.

What are Current Financial Reporting Trends?

There are certain financial reporting trends occurring as of late, thanks to these technological solutions and automation platforms. The trends include:

Data Visualisation

Financial reporting tools create data visualisations and dashboards that make it easy to understand big data at a glance. Visualisations make it possible for finance teams to share business updates and explain complexities in a manner that any team member can understand.

Non-Financial Data

While financial data is primary in all business decision-making processes, there are non-financial aspects of business that are also integral to pay attention to. Both financial and non-financial data must be reviewed when deciding what path to take.

For example, non-financial information about supply chains, employee satisfaction, and environmental impact are playing a bigger role in organisations these days.

Financial reporting software can be used to review all types of data in a centralised and cohesive way. However, reports can only go so far without analytics and process automation. Finance can incorporate a data automation tool to bring together many systems, including legacy systems, so that you can run analysis and execute processes automatically.

This will save you time and money, while reducing the chance of manual errors that are otherwise inevitable when performing processes manually via spreadsheets and disparate systems.

Predictive Analytics

Using historical data and running scenarios makes way for predictive analytics, which is a way to gain a highly accurate vision of the future before taking an action. This way, businesses can better forecast cash flow, predict financial risks, target high- value customers and more.

What are Key Features of Financial Reporting Software?

Financial reporting software typically will provide users with the following features:

  • Accounting Tasks: Naturally, you’re choosing software that can handle accounting tasks for you so that you don’t have to manually fulfill them. Most software will allow for invoicing, vendor management, report generation, income and expense tracking, and client management.
  • Estimate Creation: Users can create customised templates and provide clients with quotes. If the estimate turns into an accepted project, the estimate can easily be transformed into an invoice when ready.
  • Multi User Access: One of the major differentiators between completing work manually and automatically comes down to accessibility. One of the major pitfalls of working in silos is that bottlenecks and delays can occur, which can be extremely detrimental with regard to financial reporting and regulations. Multi User access is one feature that ensures utmost visibility into processes and relevant insights.
  • Tax Preparation: Financial reporting software can aid in filing taxes with automatic tax calculations, tax reporting, and more. If you hire out for this task, then you can utilise the software to prepare necessary information for an accountant and simply send over the data he or she will need.
  • Automation: To save your team time, manual effort, and delays, the software can carry out automation such as: automatic billing, recurring payments, and past-due notifications.

Along with automating financial reports, you can automate processes that rely on heavy amounts of data. For example, you can utilise a financial automation tool that will manage your reconciliations for you by making the process more efficient, making them more accurate, and ensuring you never miss a deadline.  

What are Types of Financial Reporting Software?

Along with the key features of financial reporting software, it’s good to know the different types of systems you can choose from. The major differentiator between software in this category is the way in which you can deploy the solution. Here’s a look at the options:

  • On-premise financial reporting: These systems are hosted on the client’s local service with a single license. Due to its complex setup, on-premise solutions tend to be the most costly option.
  • Cloud-hosted financial reporting: Given the cloud set-up, users can take advantage of the relatively low cost of these solutions. There’s universal access and no need to update the system or upkeep maintenance since the solutions are automatically updated.
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) financial reporting: In most cases, SaaS options are hosted on the vendor’s service and require a monthly subscription fee for usage. As such, business owners don’t have to worry about upkeep and maintenance.

What are the Benefits of Financial Reporting Software?

Financial software standardises and streamlines standard financial and accounting processes. Some of the benefits include:

  • Real-time Updates: Financial and nonfinancial data is constantly changing. Real-time updates and reporting makes for increased efficiency, where all updates are automatically linked within documents and reports.
  • Workflow Management: The software can automate repetitive tasks that will save your team time (and money). Workflows can span: managing deadlines, approval processes, alerts, tracking edits, and more.
  • Expense Management: Up-to-date reports make it possible to review expenses and better manage spending. Having this information handy may evolve into revising business processes and operations to cut expenses.
  • Scalability: Rather than choosing a solution that charges by report, choose a solution that can scale with your business needs at no extra cost. As your operations expand, the software can still manage the work so that your team doesn’t get overwhelmed or miss deadlines.

While you’re optimising your financial reporting functions, it pays to also incorporate data automation solutions so that your organisation can benefit from: hassle-free audits, process approvals, and real-time analysis, to name a few.

Data automation removes the downfall of having key person dependencies as the processes are clearly defined, designed and can run automatically. Therefore, your team will never run the risk of missing an important financial-related deadline, and stakeholders will always have access to the most up-to-date data and reports.

Companies who utilise automation software can scale rapidly and proactively manage their needs by enabling agile and adaptive business processes. It also removes time spent on tedious manual spreadsheets and adds time to high value analysis and insights.

What are Key Purchase Considerations for Financial Reporting Software?

If you’re here reading this, then you’re likely making financial reporting software considerations. To help you decide what you should look for, be sure to think about this criteria:

  • Deployment: How is the software deployed? That is, do you want an on-premise solution or a cloud-based system? Be sure to take into account both long-term and short-term costs associated with each option because cloud-based software is typically lower up-front, but that doesn’t necessarily always mean that over time it will still be the less expensive option.
  • Business needs: What size is your business and what industry do you operate in? Based on your industry, you can narrow down solutions according to the type of reporting available. To exemplify, manufacturers will benefit from depreciation of fixed assets reporting, whereas a government agency will likely want a fund accounting module.

Wrap Up

Financial reporting software has become ubiquitous for organisations of all sizes. With automation, financial reporting, and centralised data, your business can benefit from streamlined workflows, efficiency, and enhanced productivity. These tools also free up your team’s time to focus on high-level and value-add tasks rather than repetitive accounting and financing tasks.

Taking your organisation even further, automating more than just financial reporting will further enhance your capabilities. Data automation software can alleviate the time-consuming tasks that your team will otherwise have to do manually.

Not only does manual work increase compliance risk and the chance for errors, but it also can bog down your team in repetitive and monotonous work. Instead, by implementing a data automation solution, your team members can increase their satisfaction by focusing on high-level and analytical work that adds immense value to your organisation.

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