The art of omission

Every good chef chooses only a few ingredients for a dish. Adding more ingredients does not necessarily add anything to the taste of the dish. It may only divert the taste buds from the main flavor. As a business controller, how can you apply the art of omission?

A good company starts with a good product and its success will depend on the quality of the product. It has never been the intention to setup a well-organized financial department. As your company develops, more and more departments are created, but most of them are not involved in the primary process. Over time, more and more employees are not directly involved in the core business of the company: creating, marketing, and selling your product.

Reason for existence
The purpose of a financial department is to process, analyze and report information. Revenues, expenses and profits are calculated, analyzed, budgeted, planned, and estimated. The available models, spreadsheets, Performance Management-systems and datasets are becoming increasingly larger and more complex. The initial reason for having the finance department is valid, but only too often the focus is lost. The data handling seems to become more important than the very reason the company exists: the product.

A symphony of flavors
In order to cook a good meal, you start with beautiful, healthy, and fresh ingredients. The art of creating a great dish is more delicate. Each ingredient needs to contribute to the dish and enhance the harmony between the ingredients. The perfect meal is a symphony of flavors that are balanced and it does not need sauces or other additions.

Reporting sets within large organizations are usually so jam-packed with data that it is hard to get the gist of it. In order to be balanced, you need to find the pure ingredients of your reporting process. To accomplish this, you could ask yourself questions like:

  • Which reports contain the essence of the information needed to make the best decisions? And which ones are better left out?
  • Do you really need to separate costs into different categories like education, adverts and office supplies? Or does the category ‘other costs’ suffice?
  • Should you perhaps focus more on information that gives you insight into which products you should release next year, which products generate the most revenue and which products should be taken out of the assortment next year?

A balanced menu
How wonderful would it be if the reporting and budgeting process would be fast and smooth, so your organization could really focus on the core of your business: producing and selling products to satisfied customers? This is the art of a balanced menu of information. A menu that represents the core values of the organization, with reports that show a balanced amount of information. As in cooking, the art of omission works. How does this taste?  

Consolidation & Corporate Reporting