Real-time reporting in accounting or simply real-time accounting offers many benefits when compared to conventional periodic reporting. Traditionally, enterprises require financial or non-financial reporting based on quarterly and annual periods. Yet, the rapid change that occurs on market and society causes this periodic reporting to become quickly outdated. Higher competition among enterprises demands for more updated information to enable
management to rapidly adapt to opportunities and answer problems. Real-time accounting addresses these needs, but
needs new technological answers. In this article we present some technologies which can help the implementation of real-time accounting, namely, business process management, mobile devices, cloud computing, business intelligence, enterprise architecture and enterprise application integration.
The running stream of fast changing, increasingly competitive global market and rapidly shortening product life cycles forces enterprises to analyse accurate and timely information, in order to react instantaneously to changes in its business. Enterprises are entering a new era, the era of the real-time enterprises and real-time economy also called the “now economy”, which can be characterized by a substantive acceleration of business measurement, assessment and decision processes . The now economy poses a new challenge to Accounting Information Systems, which is the real-time reporting.
Real-time reporting in accounting or simply real-time accounting offers many benefits when compared to conventional periodic reporting . Traditionally, companies require financial or non-financial reporting based on quarterly and annual periods. Yet, the rapid changes occurred on market and society cause that this periodic reporting to become quickly outdated. Higher competition among enterprises demands more updated information to
allow management to rapidly adapt to opportunities and answer to problems. Professional investors believe that realtime reporting from enterprises allows them not only to better understand corporate performance but also to be more confident on corporate governance, which increases the likelihood of those enterprises to attract more investment from institutions. The move towards real-time reporting from the simply publishing of financial statements every three, six or 12 months is therefore almost mandatory and accounting and Accounting Information Systems (AIS) must answer to this new demand through the use of new technologies.
There are several complementary technologies available to help implement real-time reporting like business process management, which allows real-time monitoring of business processes that broadcast relevant financial or non-financial information from business operations to management; mobile devices which allows its users to instantly receive the reports produced anytime and anywhere; cloud computing that allows the instantly sharing of
information among all users within and outside the organization that need it to make informed decisions; business intelligence, which allows the generation and delivering of more focused and relevant information of business operations to managers enabling not only the long term planning of the organization goals but also the management and optimization of daily business operations (event-driven); and enterprise architecture and enterprise application integration that structures and integrates different systems and their corresponding data present in the organization to
allow real-time report generation with added value to users.
Accounting reports may comprise significant different perspectives like accounting operations (transaction processing, accounts payable and receivable, internal financial reporting), external reporting (statutory reporting, corporate finance, treasury and financial risk, and regulation, including internal audits, compliance with regulatory requirements and taxes), management accounting (forecasting, budgeting, costing and reporting on variances like
cost control or detailed reports about performance against budget, as well as cash flow management), the management support (like identifying and analysing strategic options, decision support, designing and tracking key personnel indicators, benchmarking, strategic management accounting, and business risk management), the staff management, training, scrutiny of capital projects, emphasis on customers and products, reports about debtor and
creditor ageing, auditing, internal controls implementation, risk management, error or fraud detection, accountability, among others. Reporting is probably the most frequently performed activity by accountants and one the most important features of an Accounting Information Systems (AIS), not always wellcovered by Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that some accounting professionals considerer as the AIS.
Business Process Management (BPM) like accounting has lately been focusing one real-time issue to provide managers and business leaders the possibility to monitor and optimize business processes.
Business Process Management Suites (BPMS) have been progressing into a new era the era of intelligent BPMS,
which include a new module the Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), which offers the ability to deliver real-time dashboards for monitoring all kinds of business processes. The term BAM was originally coined by analysts at Gartner and refers to the aggregation, analysis, and presentation of real-time information about activities inside organizations and involving customers and partners.
BAM is an enterprise solution primarily intended to provide a real-time summary of business activities to operations
managers and upper management. BAM.