We do judge a book by its cover
Sadly too often we have seen more time put into presentation of information to boards and senior management than verifying the information. The sad fact is that people trust the accuracy of the information based on how professionally that information is displayed. Having got down and dirty in following how information is compiled I have been horrified how inaccurate some reports are despite their fancy charts and diagrams. Too often companies have collapsed from such inaccurate reports.

It is not the fault of staff when inaccuracies occur
It is more a problem with the culture of the organisation and that staff do not have the tools to do the job. The finance department is too often a low priority for IT where operational issues take high priority. Information that finance depends on is not regarded as critical, it is only numbers. Shortcuts taken by operations creates a major burden to the finance department. Finance has a tight budget because they are regarded as a cost center. Despite all this, staff then have to provide critical information to decision makers.

How accurate are your board reports.
One consultant told me, he made his living by simply selecting a random board report and saying it was incorrect. The management would conduct a review and nine times out of ten they would find it was wrong. He was regarded in awe for seeing something that others missed, but all he played on was the level of erroneous information in board reports. Whilst he may have embellished the story, the question is how does a director know that the information they are looking at is correct.

Transparency
If the Global Financial Crisis taught us anything, it is do not trust black box systems. Dacono has moved away from statistical models that extrapolate futures based on limited information. Dacono's focus is to provide a financial data warehouse that provides more information and use common sense and a transparent approach to forecasting and strategic planning.

 


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