State financial officials reveal several reasons why their current financial reporting methods might leave something to be desired, in a newly released survey by Oracle and the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers. The oft-cited budget constraints, not surprisingly, don’t help public-sector fiscal executives’ other top challenges, which include manual processes, disparate data sources and wide variations in reporting needs.
The Statewide Financial Reporting and Performance Data Analysis Survey (download) was administered in order to recognize impediments in the path of state governments that aim to speed up financial reporting processes and ensure that their financial data is as useful as possible.
Executives in state government from 24 states with responsibilities in finance, including state comptrollers, financial reporting managers and accounting directors provided feedback that is reflected in the report.
Among the findings in the report:
- More than 62 percent of states give themselves As or Bs for their ability to deliver timely, useful financial reports, while the remaining 38 percent give themselves a C, D or F.
- Only 8 percent grade themselves an A in their ability to effectively analyze financial data.
- Nearly 63 percent of states surveyed use Excel or similar tools to assemble financial data.
- More than 70 percent of respondents indicate ¼ to ½ of their staff time goes to moving data or maintaining in-house routines to support financial reporting, including manual data collection, re-keying data and double-checking numbers.
- Most states included in the survey are implementing or planning to implement software or tools to automate financial reporting.
The survey concludes with recommendations for governments looking to improve their financial reporting processes, some of which align with Oracle’s product offerings in the government space.