MIS Nightmares and how to avoid them

What do you get when you prefix MIS to Information? Is it possible that the MIS that you so carefully crafted may be giving you wrong information?

Let me tell you a familiar short–story:

My friend took up the CFO position of an upcoming enterprise. He found the monthly MIS reporting process to be in a mess. MIS reports for the previous months were generated only by 15th of each month, by which time the data had already lost its currency. The chart of accounts was woefully outdated. Cost-centers and profit centers were not setup properly, so the MIS that was generated included a generous dose of assumptions and mastery over excel. There was only one accountant who knew the MIS preparation process, and his absence meant further delays in generating the MIS reports. The investors were not happy with either the quality or timeliness of the report.

Unfortunately, I find this to be a recurring theme in most organizations.

From my experience, here are some tips to avoid MIS nightmares:

i. Keep it simple – don’t design anything that cannot be easily pulled from your source systems. Manual interventions should be kept to a minimum. Always change things at the source. For e.g. if you want to see P&L at a project level, capture your expenses and sales at a project level. Don’t reverse engineer it.

ii. Keep it simple – whether you leverage a reporting solution, or prepare it in excel, you should spend less time putting it together, and more time analyzing and understanding the insights. If you are taking too long preparing it, then it is a sign that your reports are too complicated, and need simplification.

iii. Keep it simple – most people think that upgrading their ERP is the solution to their reporting problems. You can’t be wrong anymore! In fact it is very likely that you will also migrate the inefficiencies of your current accounting system to your new ERP and also add new issues that did not exist before. An ERP is a record keeping and transaction processing system; do not confuse it with a reporting system. An affordable cloud based reporting and analytics software may be your answer.

Karthik Ganeshan

Co-Founder and Director, BeyondSquare Solutions.

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