By automating your fact sheets, you can drop days of painstaking work down to mere hours. In fact, leading research and advisory company Gartner finds automation saves finance departments 25,000 hours of avoidable work annually.
You might think automation is reserved for the financial giants of the world, but even the little guys can take advantage of it. By setting up even the simplest of automations, financial services companies can turn a massive undertaking into a cakewalk.
Automating your financial reporting
ddm has produced thousands of automated fact sheets and quarterly reports for dozens of clients since 2004. What appears to most as overwhelming and nonsensical numbers in a spreadsheet from a data provider like Morningstar or FactSet is nirvana to our automation experts.
We insert programming html “tags” into design files that tell the data where to populate. We assign each fund with a tag, so it knows which template to look for.
We then create a place on our proprietary automation platform for each client and tag the data coming from a provider. If numbers have to be rounded, or text updated, the system can easily adapt to make those changes without manual intervention.
Therefore, no matter what piece of marketing material or reporting is populated, it will be consistent. The reports are more accurate and created in a fraction of the time it takes for a designer to enter the data manually.
Is automation right for you?
We actually have a saying here: if you’re doing something over and over, automate it.
That’s not to say automation makes sense for every client. Gartner’s analysis reveals there are several reasons why companies are afraid to take the plunge.
Three common roadblocks to implementing automation.
- A hesitancy to pull human interaction. Many assume that some steps benefit from human judgement.
- A perception of low ROI. Traditional cost-centric ROI formulas don’t always show the true financial benefits.
- Delays in implementation. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires mutual funds to report the complete lists of their holdings on a quarterly basis if the company is regulated, so time is of the essence.
Don’t worry, humans still run the show
For many of our clients, the fact that our designers have 40+ years of financial experience combined, who know the difference between a CEF and an ETF, gives them confidence a button isn’t pushed while they walk away.
In other words, if your NAVs are lower than your POPs, we’ll know there’s an issue with the data.
We are fully capable of designing a report from scratch, following brand standards, or tagging a client’s existing file.
How much are your extra hours worth?
Time is the true ROI measure here. When your team can focus on more strategic tasks instead of the tedious work of building fact sheets, that’s a win.
Gartner research has found that the average amount of avoidable rework in accounting departments can take up to 30% of a full-time employee’s overall time. This equates to savings of 25,000 hours per year at a cost of $878,000 for an organization with 40 full-time staff.
Delays? What delays?
Whether it’s a fear of being penalized by the SEC for a late filing, or investors’ perceptions, delays can be costly.
Therefore, we often start our partnership with a client by creating the automation platform and running the reports concurrently with their old process for one quarter. That allows bugs to be worked out without sacrificing that quarter’s reports.
If you do it over and over, think about automating it
While there are many tools that help mechanize the financial reporting process, automation promises serious time savings for your team. If your team is struggling with the menial tasks of designing, coordinating, managing, and measuring financial reports, team ddm is ready to jump in and assist.