Once documentation of relevant master data objects is complete, systems and processes should be conformed (or designed and developed) to assemble the financial and non-financial data of each of the master data objects. All systems and processes in the record-to-report process should be geared around the master data objects, since it is this data that internal users have agreed will be needed to make decisions.

The management accountant should be available to follow up with the owners of data objects to provide support with decision making.

This might be through:

  • Producing reports and providing insights based on the data.
  • Proactively engaging with decision makers to encourage thinking about how performance could be improved.
  • Reporting findings to senior management and estimating future performance.

The financial and non-financial values of master data objects will often be compiled from lower-order data, mostly arising from transactions that take place throughout the business model.

The size of modern, competitive companies means a high degree of automation is required to keep on top of transaction volumes. It would be easier to design systems to capture transactions at a reduced level of granularity, so reducing the burden on systems and processes. However, doing so may adversely affect the ability of management accountants to provide the insight that supports decision making and drives continuous improvement. Management accountants should:

  • Maintain master data at the level of granularity required to provide comprehensive insight into product and customer costs.
  • Plan, design, implement and maintain systems and processes to support efficient and comprehensive data capture, analysis and presentation.
  • Drive standardisation and simplification of systems and processes across the value chain and business model.
  • Continuously improve the automation and integration of transacting across the value chain.
  • Conduct value chain analysis.

In many businesses, the challenges of designing processes that enable decision makers to trust and act on cost information are significant. They demand a high level of technical expertise to design, and require strong competencies to gain the trust and buy-in of leaders.

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