When it comes to handling financial data analysis for your company, you’ve probably mapped out the processes you regularly use to get things done. Chances are, those processes involve combing through EDGAR filings of peer companies and financial data feeds.
While those manual processes ultimately get the job done, how cumbersome and time consuming are they for you and your team? More importantly, since these processes are manual, it’s likely you will need to repeat the same processes over and over again for updating or performing future analyses, and for each reporting period. As a financial analyst, deadlines rule your world, and doing what you’ve always done — although not necessarily the most efficient method — often becomes the default. However, this doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t like to simplify your processes where you can and reduce the time you spend on things such as quarterly benchmarking against your peer group. It's not uncommon to spend hundreds of hours each year for this tedious data collection process, what if all this can be changed quite easily? What it all your effort can be focused on analyzing the data, discovering insights?
When it comes to financial analysis, the old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” certainly applies. And what you may not know is that better methods exist. Indeed, there are tools designed to make your job easier and your processes more efficient — without sacrificing accuracy or integrity.
Whether you’re collecting market capitalization data, compiling quarterly benchmark reports, or preparing reports to provide to your board and investors, you could certainly benefit from more intelligent and dynamic financial analysis software.
Nice to have or need to have?
Even if the existence of more intelligent tools isn’t news to you, perhaps these tools have historically been viewed as “nice to have,” instead of “need to have” within your organization. Let’s talk about the features to look for in a financial data software platform that make them a must have, and how they can help you stand out from peers and get the attention of management.
What should you be looking for in a financial data software platform?
1. Tools that enable deep analysis - Getting the most out of financial data means going beyond the GAAP financial statements and incorporating non-GAAP information found in supplemental sources like earnings releases, management discussion and analysis (MD&A), proxy statements, 8-K statements and SEC comment letters. To that end, you should be looking for a platform that offers intelligent textual search and other analytical functions. Overlaying textual and data analyses can provide deeper insights that could be missed by focusing simply on one or the other.
2. Access to credible, accurate data - Choose a platform that enables you to provide historical trend analysis and high-quality financial data, to give you a complete picture of the companies you’re analyzing. You should also be able to easily trace the data back to its original source. This level of transparency provides the validation you need to ensure accurate and credible data.
3. The ability to collaborate with your team in real-time - Without a sound collaboration tool, your team is inefficient. It’s important to implement a platform that allows you to collaborate effectively with your colleagues, in real-time. Intelligent financial data software will allow you to set permission levels so that your team can add notes and narration to the data collected and truly work together. This will also ensure that efforts are not duplicated.
4. A platform that enables data visualization - What good is all of the data you’ve compiled if you can’t visualize it to get an accurate picture of your business or market? Data doesn’t have to be boring and not all presentations are created equally or equally understood by all. Look for software that allows you to customize how your data is displayed. Data visualization will also enable you to quickly and easily highlight anomalies without having to comb through rows and rows of data.
Any company of any size can benefit from an intelligent and dynamic financial data software platform. Whether you’re doing internal financial analysis or performing tasks for clients as part of an accounting services firm, arming yourself with the right tools will make your processes more effective and efficient.
At idaciti, our platform offers all of these critical features and more, allowing you to harness the full power of data to improve the way you report, collaborate, discover insights and make business decisions.