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James McEntee, Managing Director, UK&I, CCH Tagetik Company strategy, Finance and investment, People and skills, Strategy & management, Technology and innovation, Opinion

Finance reporting isn’t an easy topic to get those outside the profession excited about. It might not have the allure of, say, public relations or the esotericism of IT. But it is crucial to the success of any utility company.

You’re not the only industry to see profits being squeezed recently. However, you have been hit hard: increases in wholesale prices, capped household tariffs, more daily usage. Your industry is facing issues from all angles.

So how can you make your finance department more efficient? And reporting easier to meet new regulations when they are introduced?

Reporting without the repetition

At CCH Tagetik, we help companies and customers around the world grasp a better understanding of their finances, in part thanks to our unified finance platform. It keeps everything in one place and connects the important information – people, processes and data – needed to create in-depth reports from other departments.

For the utilities industry, that specifically means supporting PCP (Price Control Period) reporting that is Ofgem and Ofwat compliant. By bringing data together for monthly reporting and disclosure, the platform automatically extracts what’s relevant and ensures the format meets strict requirements. It’s also flexible enough to forecast for the future – producing “what if” scenarios depending on changes to regulations. Or using specific drivers – such as thermal, wind, hydro or electric – to justify rates to regulators and plan profitability by each different utility.

The result? Simplified processes, reduced costs and a much easier way to enable finance departments to help drive future business strategies.

Less time reporting, more time analysing

We’ve previously worked with Anglian Water Services, which provides water, sewerage and sewage treatment services to over 6.3 million customers across the East of England, to see how they could cut the time they were spending on preparing financial information for internal and regulatory reporting. As these became more and more complex, meeting deadlines was tight and didn’t leave much time for other important tasks.

Together, we introduced new ways to collect and store all financial processes and data. Now the finance team not only has a much better overview of the data they require, but can also easily drill down and identify potential challenges – and opportunities. What was once a 12-hour process has been turned into a 15-minute job. The time the company has saved in the reporting process has enabled them to analyse information for insights to add value to the business.

Concentrate on what you joined finance for

While compliance and reporting are important aspects of finance, they’re not areas that CFOs or finance teams should be spending all their time on. However, because of current systems being used, it often becomes an unavoidable part of the job. Which is why CCH Tagetik can give teams peace of mind, thanks to clearer audit trails, how easy it can be to update following regulation changes and more powerful validation features that catch mistakes before they become an issue.

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