LONDON, Sept. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- While many aspects of business have accelerated dramatically in the last 10 years, the speed of delivering financial results to shareholders has hardly moved. Column5 research into Britain's top Companies shows that the typical time for reporting year end results to shareholders is pretty much where it was in 2004. Although some beacons of improvement have emerged in the last 10 years, significantly driving down time to report, including Unilever, British Sky Broadcasting, Diageo, Experian, Imperial Tobacco, Tullow Oil, Amec, British Land, Lloyds Banking Group and Shire, who have all reduced their reporting timetables by 14 days or more over the last 10 years, there are other key findings from the report that indicate much more work is needed:
- The UK FTSE100 Average Elapsed Days to Announce Year-End Financial Results was 53 days this year, a fall of just 5% since 2004
- 24 Companies are still failing to report within the 15-year-old ASB recommended "Best practice" of 60 days
- There are still wide discrepancies, with the fastest company in the FTSE100 reporting in 17 days and the slowest 90
There has been a growing clamour from some quarters for the dawn of a new age of "Real Time Reporting" for stakeholders. An Aberdeen Group research report(1) published in July was the latest to argue for the need for speed. While, Ewan Willars, Director of Policy at the ACCA put it even more bluntly on February 19th this year, when commenting on the ACCA's latest research(2) on real-time reporting, "The speed with which companies release their annual accounts is seen as an important indicator of efficient management and good Governance."
Compelling sentiments in both cases but the Column5 research shows that this is one area where technology, productivity, efficiency and process improvements are failing to benefit many shareholders.
David Jones, UK Managing Director of Column5 Consulting and Research Director comments, "It is clear that there has only been a sluggish acceleration in overall reporting timetables in the FTSE100 in the last 10 years and this is surprising given the dramatic improvements we have seen in the speed and efficiency of so many other business activities. The era of real time reporting seems many years away and it looks like shareholders will have to wait a while yet for more timely financial reporting."
David went on to say, "This is a missed opportunity for companies to demonstrate just how much more efficient their financial processes have become in the last 10 years. Although the volume of information disclosed in the Annual Report and Accounts has increased over the last 10 years, those who have invested in accelerating their close have not only pleased their shareholders and analysts but have also realised that a faster close drives significant internal benefits through process efficiency, quality improvements and standardisation of systems and processes as well as enabling faster and better internal analysis of performance."
Column5/EPM International Close Cycle Rankings 2014 Research
A PDF of key aspects of the research, including Close Cycle Rankings for the 250 largest UK companies as well as major global markets beyond the UK, can be found at: www.epm-international.com or requested by contacting David Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David will be presenting key findings of the report in a free webcast event on Thursday, September 11. Please visit: http://info.column5.com/webcast-close-cycle-rankings-2014 to register.
- Real-Time Financial Reporting: The Need for Speed, Aberdeen Group, July 2014
- Understanding investors: the road to real-time reporting, Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, September 2013
About Column5 Consulting
Column5 Consulting is a specialist in Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) processes such as financial close, financial consolidation and reporting and SAP EPM solutions, in particular SAP BPC (Business Planning and Consolidation). We work closely with our clients, assisting them with the full EPM lifecycle, from Blueprint and Road Map, detailed process and system design to successful implementation and configuration capabilities. Business benefits realised typically include accelerated reporting or internal consolidated results as well as externally reported results.
We also offer extended support and training services which help organisations liberate full value from their SAP EPM investment as well as technical infrastructure and hosting services to help our clients operate effective and efficient infrastructure to support SAP EPM. Our unique EPM Academy offers traditional class room based training but also an innovative on-demand e-learning SAP EPM training program which is being used widely by our clients both to support initial SAP EPM projects but also to sustain and nurture SAP EPM skills so that the investment in EPM is fully exploited.
We work with a wide range of clients across multiple business sectors in the US, Canada, UK and the Philippines, including some of the world's most iconic and best known brands. We also work closely with our colleagues in EPM International to provide comprehensive EPM solutions to our clients globally.
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