How to automate monthly management reporting?

Can you imagine pressing the magic button and having new monthly accounting data, management adjustments and forecasts flow into your reporting? And you press it a second time and it generates a monthly set of management reports? That's not utopia. There is a way to approach such a scenario. We'll show you a few basic rules of thumb that will help make the process of automating the monthly report significantly faster and easier.

The basis is uniformly defined rules for reporting of all management entities. Whether you are a holding company, a larger company with operations in multiple countries, or a company that has multiple reporting entities, set clear rules on what the indicator (set of indicators) should look like for the smallest entity you want to report on.

It is also useful to define which all the indicators you need for management reporting, whether just the income statement, non-financial KPIs or also receivables management, capex, cashflow, etc. The complexity of the process to get you to your goal depends on this requirement. The granularity of the information can be different for different types of indicators, but it still needs to be based on the same principles, the master data.

Master data

Master data is the key data through which you will look at your indicators. Typically these are:

  • reporting account (not to be confused with chart of accounts)
  • companies
  • business unit
  • department
  • products
  • customer segments
  • currencies
  • scenarios and their versions

From a management reporting perspective, you can also consider the rules for calculating KPIs as master data. Accounting data usually does not contain the required detail of information for management reporting, so the master data needs to be supplemented with reporting rules on how to obtain the required information (so-called reporting guidelines).

If you need to hierarchize the master data into groups and trees, then these rules are also needed.


Once a single process and master data are defined, you can automate the reporting. Automation means using a tool that:

  1. is able to support the process (workflow tool) – it allows to open and close periods, scenarios and sets of provided data, manage user permissions, communicate validations and pass status information
  2. can process data quickly and iteratively, integrating it into a defined data model
  3. visualises the data and provides it to the finance and controlling departments for further efficient use

This means providing ready-made and pre-prepared standard outputs of management P&L, receivables, cashflow etc. including time comparisons and scenario comparisons. All this in a transparent manner, according to defined rules, so that all stakeholders know at every moment what state the reporting cycle is in and when it has been successfully completed.

Rely on pre-prepared solutions

Pre-built solutions exist for unified management reporting. Contact a partner who is not new to the situation and will guide you through the process setup, data master and automation mechanism. One such solution is, for example, the FinReCo product – financial reporting and controlling management from Adastra, which contains all the described features.

It is a set of standard products with strong support for process control, master data and data processing. The output includes a broad user set of tools such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power BI and web-based reports that every controller has in the palm of their hand. It just depends on the need of the moment what to do with the results.

It takes around three months to implement a typified management scorecard solution and requires minimal input from the customer. The implementation follows standardized procedures and rules that will reliably lead you to the desired goal.

Don’t forget about expandability

Equally important is the extensibility of the solution with future functionalities, which are very often a continuation of the initial phase. These are extensions in the area of:

  • finance – modelling different development scenarios, indirect cost reallocation rules, customer and product profitability
  • business – interfacing with product and customer data, customer base movement
  • HR – information on work performed, hours and times, FTE counts and many more.

In the future, the chosen tool should also enable this so that you don’t close the door on needed expansion.

The article by David Kalab – Director of the Insurance Division and expert in the field of Finance 4.0, was published by CFO World magazine on 4/2020. You can also find it on