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How to Choose a Financial Reporting Advisor

Choosing a financial reporting advisor is like trying to purchase a good bottle of wine. All the bottles look the same, with only a label distinguishing them all. You cannot really tell which one is the best. The key to choosing the right bottle is in doing your homework before you go to the store. The same applies to selecting a financial reporting advisor. In order to select the best financial reporting advisor, you must understand the extent of your internal problems, and research the different types of financial reporting firms available.

The first step is an internally focused one that requires you to coldly assess the quality of the existing financial reporting. Are the reports accurate, are the reports easy to understand, do the reports contain actionable information? Most importantly, do the reports contain the important information needed to run the business? Many people confuse accounting information with business intelligence. Accounting information is contained in a general ledger or a financial statement.

Unless the information is set forth in a meaningful context that shows variances, comparisons, and statistical relationships, it is not necessarily business intelligence. A financial reporting advisor should be able to help you diagnose where your financial reporting is lacking and devise a plan to improve it. The best financial reporting advisors will help you to hone in on the key performance indicators of your business. They can help you develop a path to translate accounting information into business intelligence.

The second step in choosing a financial reporting advisor is to do your homework on finding the right firm. This involves researching the backgrounds of different firms to make sure that they have experience with your type of project. Firms with more than 10 years of experience are preferred. Professionals with broad based experience running companies and investing in companies are preferred. The best financial reporting advisors are the ones that ask penetrating questions and understand the unique nature of your company’s financial reporting needs.

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