Rethinking your rebate reporting process to gain better insights

Rethinking your rebate reporting process to gain better insights

Producing reports on your rebate deals is necessary if you want your business to make trading decisions far more frequently and proactively while maximizing business performance. However, reporting on these deals is becoming more complex each year because of the wide range and types of deals involved and the tedious reporting processes organizations have in place.  

As organizations aggregate more and more rebate data from multiple departments and systems, finance and commercial teams face a higher volume of data reconciliations, spreadsheet searches, report consolidations, error corrections and approvals. Due to the manual reporting approach involving multiple people, a lot of time is lost and decisions are not made in a timely fashion. 

According to a Blackline global CFO survey, less than half of respondents are completely confident that they can identify errors in financial figures to ensure accurate reporting. But with increased pressure on organizations to produce accurate reports and handle data correctly due to financial regulations, it is essential to make the reporting process efficient and reduce the risk of any errors wherever possible.  

Collaborate across the organization 

Finance plays a central role in the reporting process by providing analytics and insights into numbers, but providing truly valuable and comprehensive insight requires collaboration between all departments involved, including commercial and procurement teams. 

One of the primary obstacles to better collaboration is outdated technology. Many organizations still rely on email and spreadsheets to drive their reporting process, which makes collaboration a time-consuming and frustrating task that can result in inaccuracies. With a cloud-based rebate management platform you have a shared yet secure reporting environment where users can work alongside each other, not one at a time.  

In addition, communicate regularly with each other throughout the reporting process. Ask what types of decisions they will make with better information. Delve into how they would like reports presented, and how often they need them. Deeper collaboration between departments will generate effective decision making and drive improved performance for your deals. 

Work from a single source of data 

Many organizations are still heavily reliant on spreadsheets, various studies have proven them to be highly error prone, with 88% containing errors. If all of your rebate data is spread across multiple spreadsheets and disparate systems, it is not possible for your team to measure deal performance and make the right decisions. Another issue here is version control - multiple users changing reports at different times and overriding previously saved work. This only increases the risk of inaccurate reporting.  

By having one source of the truth, where rebate data is automatically consolidated and updated, you have peace of mind that your reporting process is going to be accurate, and the performance of your deals can be maximized. Plus, finance teams can refocus the conversation around insights and action instead of debating accountability and accuracy. 

Carefully interpret the rebate data 

The amount of detail and numbers in a report can be difficult to interpret and understand. The decision makers need a clear, easy to understand view of the report to be able to take actions from it; to improve collaboration, you must improve both access and understanding of the data as your reports aren’t always going to be read by finance professionals.  

understand the needs of your audience and create reports appropriately. That way, the reporting process becomes a strategic conversation. The more your organization understands the story behind the numbers, the greater the chance it has to operate as a data-driven organization—and the more effective you can be in getting your message across to key stakeholders. By visualizing the data, your report can quickly explain the story the numbers are trying to tell, to drive those rebate deals. 

Build a data-driven culture 

Developing a better strategy for your reporting process should include having access to the right data, at the right time, using the right tools. Producing reports for your deals will always be a requirement, however, having the ability to expand details and perform quick analysis is something everyone in your team should want. 
By building a data-driven culture not only will your team feel connected to their performance and metrics, but they will also have more confidence in the reports being distributed. 

Next step: Use rebate management technology to accurately report on your rebates today 

According to a Deloitte report, over a third of respondents do not believe their finance technology supports effective management reporting and analysis. Data integrity can be compromised when you don’t have a comprehensive reporting tool that allows you to keep track of your data. 

Instead of using static spreadsheets and disparate systems, it’s critical to move your reporting process to the cloud. Our rebate management system is accessible through the web, which means all your team can work from the same set of numbers, at the same time, without confusion or delay. It enables you to control and track which user has access and who enters data, allowing you to greatly increase transparency and accountability throughout the reporting process. A timely and accurate reporting process is essential to effectively manage your company's deal performance.  

Ultimately, good reporting leads to better results.  

Elizabeth Lavelle

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