We’re always looking out for ways to make the whole accounting process easier and more manageable. With this in mind we thought we would turn our attention to Management Accounts Services.
This is a service that is usually taken up by senior management personnel who need to make key decisions based upon complex data.
The Management Accounts Service doesn’t just cover run-of-the-mill bookkeeping or standard accounting. Instead it helps to break down the data extracted via bookkeeping and accounting to create an easily understood picture of your business so the right people are making the right decisions. The data itself will come from the same source, but it is the way the data is interpreted that will give you better results.
So, if you’ve decided you need a Management Accounts Service to bring your decision making up to speed you’ll need to read through our 5 factors we think are indispensable when finding the right service for your needs.
- Determine the information you need
Management Accounts Services were created to give management personnel the essential information they need to take the right business decisions with confidence. So the first thing to decide is the type of information you need. What information will help you to take the right decision?
You will need to be able to compare and contrast figures over a range of times – perhaps even over periods of years. So, you may need to know budgets, forecasts and factor in any relevant KPIs before you can begin comparing one period against another.
The reports should be compiled in such a way as to make this information clear and easy to compare.
- Get the timing just right
Any business decisions need to be taken in a timely manner. That means getting your key reports in good time so you, and your colleagues, can study them and draw the right conclusions. You know that meetings take on greater focus and importance when there is good, reliable data to study. Getting reports too late in the decision-making process could mean having too much to compile and understand all at once.
Establish from the outset the frequency you need for your reports. It could be weekly, twice-weekly, or monthly to coincide with senior management meetings. Perhaps you’ll only need them for quarterly reviews. Once you know the necessary frequency you can plan to have the reports compiled and distributed at the meeting, or beforehand, to give your colleagues key information in good time.
- Correct Data means Good Decisions
Yes, it sounds like an obvious consideration but it is nevertheless worth pointing out that you need to have correct data in the first place. From the beginning make sure you understand how data is compiled from existing bookkeeping or ledger systems to make sure that future reports continue to use the latest correct information.
- Know Your Audience
You need to be mindful of the format that will best suit your intended audience. Who will be receiving your reports and how will they react to them? Is there a particular format that will readily engage their attention?
This applies to teams as well as individuals. You need to tailor the way your report is presented to make sure it sets out the information in a way that is clear to as many people as possible.
Once your know your management accounts are accurately compiled and crisply printed you need to make sure your actual presentation goes well. This might involve a little more creativity than you had anticipated if you want to make sure the data is as comprehensible as possible. Instead of pointing out the tables within your presentation you might want to include an eye-catching pie chart or use progress lines for greater emphasis.
These 5 factors will make your accounts more relevant and eagerly anticipated by your colleagues. For those who are not involved with accounts on a daily basis it can be tedious to sit through meetings about accounts – they just want the essential information. However, by applying these 5 factors you can make the process much more engaging.
Able Accountants are local accountants providing helpful tips and tricks for finances and accounts on their regular blog.