Reduce Cycle Times: How to Actually Meet Your CAFR Deadline (For Real!)

When you consider what an immense undertaking it is to complete the long and complex Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), it’s really no wonder that so many organizations struggle to meet production deadlines. In the CAFR process you face many challenges, such as juggling resources, managing risks, and keeping costs as low as possible.  While we’ve explained in other posts how you can use IBM Cognos Disclosure Management to save resources, reduce risks, and cut costs, there is still another problem it can help solve:  the struggle to get everything done well in advance of the deadline.

If your CAFR process is a manual one, then you’re familiar with a complicated procedure requiring a daunting time commitment. Many organizations spend several months out of the year on their CAFR – but if you automate your process, you will reduce cycle times.

Some key drivers of long cycle times include:

  • The inefficient repetition of many manual steps
  • The need to check, re-check, and correct all errors by hand
  • The creation and formatting of several output types
  • The involvement of many people, sometimes all working simultaneously, throughout many steps in the process

You can probably envision it now: all the members of your team trying to handle different portions of the CAFR, with all the problems that come from having too many cooks in the kitchen. You accidentally duplicate some efforts and omit others.  Sometimes you can’t do your part until someone else finishes theirs. You each spend weeks pouring over the same large chunk of the report, searching for errors and correcting them. You hold status meetings to determine what has to be done next and who has to do it. And time drags on and on, your deadline approaches, and you still have so much you want to do. Sound familiar?

When you automate your CAFR process with IBM Cognos Disclosure Management, you eliminate those bottlenecks, redundancies and miscommunications right along with the manual process that caused them  — and that saves time. IBM Cognos Disclosure Management reduces cycle times because:

  • With IBM Cognos Disclosure Management, you can use the report from a prior year as a template for your next report. The latest data loads automatically into a report template that is pre-formatted, so you won’t waste valuable time recreating it.
  • Variables in text will flow data everywhere there is a reference, and because your documents are reusable, you can also reuse the same variables in subsequent years. This means that the narrative portion of your report will automatically pull the data you need, shaving even more time off your workload.
  • IBM Cognos Disclosure Management makes it easy to work on the CAFR as a team. Drag-and-drop workflow features allow you to track the status of each section of the document.  Since you can view and manage due dates and responsibility assignments, you won’t have any confusion about what has to be done and who has to do it.
  • A system-maintained audit trail tracks every change to the document.  Now you can easily compare any two versions of the document to see what changed, who changed it, and when it changed, so you won’t have to spend as many hours in a meeting trying to figure it out.

If you’re struggling with long cycle times in your CAFR production, IBM Cognos Disclosure Management might be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Want to learn more?  Just call us or click on the button below to request a personal consultation.

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