In recent years, there has been an ongoing effort to introduce new financial reporting technologies to modernize financial reporting by state and local governments. Two such states at the forefront of this effort are California and Florida. For instance, California’s proposed SB 598 would transition municipalities within the state to the XBRL system, which allows for state and local financial reports to be both computer-readable and human-readable. Similarly, Florida enacted HB 1073, which seeks to introduce the XBRL system in state and local financial filings. In Canada, Montreal appears to have gained traction in this area by adopting emerging technologies, and it has even instituted real-time reporting. This article reviews the opportunities and challenges of adopting emerging technologies for real-time reporting by the approximately 38,917 counties, municipalities, and townships across the United States (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/governments/cb12-161.html).
Although real-time financial reporting presents several opportunities for organizations, it also creates some challenges related to the complex and costly nature of its implementation. These difficulties often arise from the cumbersome process of integrating an organization’s existing data warehouse and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into a real-time reporting system. Current technological solutions for real-time reporting pull from several sources, including business process management (BPM), mobile devices, cloud computing, business intelligence, and enterprise application integration. Business Process Management Suites (BPMS) have enabled real-time data with a Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) module that presents real-time dashboards to monitor a variety of business processes for enhanced decision making. This trend related to BPM readily presents the opportunity to implement a BAM for real-time accounting information and continuous auditing. While the opportunity exists, creating a BPM and BAM to generate accounting data is a challenging process that requires organizations to invest considerable time, energy, and financial resources to implement in a manner that complements their unique business processes and needs. Such integration is not necessarily straightforward; while both BPM and financial reporting for a given organization may arise from the same activities and events, they may come from different perspectives due to the purely economic nature of financial reporting.
虽然实时财务报告为各组织带来了一些机会，但由于其执行的复杂性和成本高昂，也带来了一些挑战。这些困难往往是由于将一个组织现有的数据仓库和企业资源规划系统（enterprise resource planning, ERP）纳入实时报告系统的繁琐过程造成的。当前用于实时报告的技术解决方案来自多个来源，包括业务流程管理（business process management, BPM）、移动设备、云计算、商业智能和企业应用程序集成。业务流程管理套件（Business Process Management Suites, BPM）通过业务活动监视（Business Activity Monitoring, BAM）模块启用了实时数据，该模块提供了实时仪表板，以监控各种业务流程，以增强决策能力。这种与BPM相关的趋势很容易为实现用于实时会计信息和连续审计的BAM提供了机会。虽然存在机会，但创建BPM和BAM以生成会计数据是一个具有挑战性的过程，需要组织投入大量时间、精力和财务资源来实施，以补充其独特的业务流程和需求。这种集成并不一定是直接的；虽然给定组织的BPM和财务报告可能来自相同的活动和事件，但由于财务报告的纯经济性质，它们可能来自不同的视角。
Cloud computing solutions offer many advantages for implementing real-time financial reporting compared with BPM software, which does not make use of this technology. Cloud-based solutions that are available on the market, including Oracle Fusion Financials and NetSuite Financials, address several challenges tied to feasibility, scalability, and costs. Cloud computing provides access to real-time financial data and reports from smartphones and laptops, eliminating the need for excessive hardware and software requirements. Moreover, cloud-based tools make real-time reporting solutions more feasible for small and medium-sized organizations that would otherwise only be available to large enterprises with abundant resources.
与BPM软件相比，云计算解决方案为实现实时财务报告提供了许多优势，BPM软件不使用这种技术。市场上提供的基于云的解决方案，包括Oracle Fusion Financials和NetSuite Financials，解决了与可行性、可扩展性和成本相关的几个难题。云计算提供了从智能手机和笔记本电脑获取实时财务数据和报告的功能，消除了对硬件和软件要求过高的需求。此外，基于云的工具使实时报告解决方案对中小型组织更为可行，否则这些解决方案只能用于拥有丰富资源的大型企业。