Data is the new Oil – this famous quote was given by Mathematician Clive Humby in 2006. Like Oil, data is valuable but if unrefined, it cannot be really used. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Humby#:~:text=In%202006%2C%20Humby%20coined%20the,it%20cannot%20really%20be%20used.)
While interacting with customers, TaxReco has identified that data is available with customers but in different reports in ERP systems or in different excel sheets. To make something meaningful out of this data, clutter needs to be cleared so that finance team can spend more time on analysing the data and not on creating reports using excel formulas or Macros. Output of excel and Macros is as good as user, in terms of having skill sets to use excel/macros. You can also read https://www.taxreco.com/taxrecoshorts/how-do-you-deal-with-scattered-data/
Few recent examples that we came across while interacting with customers are
- Not able to bring master data into TDS Receivable ledger from their ERP system and hence reconciling with Form 26AS is a challenge.
- TDS Receivable ledger coming from ERP system doesn’t have sales data though TDS is being recorded for all the payments received from the customer. So, the option available is that form 26AS shall be reconciled only for TDS amount but ideally income and TDS both should be reconciled. So, to reach the ideal state TDS Receivable ledger should have both TDS data and sales data
In both cases, someone would argue that a new report can be created or new gen ERP systems have report builders available for users.
To solve this, if a company implements a new age ERP system and takes input from tax team at the time of configuring the ERP system then perhaps this problem can be resolved.
Even report customization cannot be done so frequently for day-to-day needs or at times ERPs were configured few years ago where need for such reports were not envisaged.
But implementing an ERP is a long-term decision for a company involving all stakeholders across departments and companies need to overcome inertia to do this and ensure change management.
So coming back to the main point Data is the new oil, data should be analysed thoroughly and finance team shall spend time on analysing the data and not on creating reports.
Every department in a company has an additional software to assist in addition to ERP system – For example, CRM is being used by sales team to take care of their day-to-day needs, there are supply chain software available for supply chain professionals. There is nothing wrong in having supplementary software in addition to ERP system as it is required.
For finance people, the need starts from very basic thing which is organizing the data so that they can make something meaningful out of it. Like other departments have their specialized software, finance team also need a software which can help them to organize and analyse data. This can be an analytics platform or a simple Do It Yourself platform where they can bring their data and create output report as per their requirement by merging multiple sheets into one.
It is time for finance teams to attack the root cause of this problem and have a software which they can use on daily basis to organize and analyze data. Management team will get better and faster inputs if finance team can spend quality time on data analysis and not on mundane repetitive activities.