Why do you need to do board reporting? 

Ask any CEO and company board member what their top-of-mind pain points are, and the response is likely cash flow strains, meeting ROI objectives, and controlling the hot-button issues that simmer and boil to create operational disruption. From another angle, they strive to stay sure-footed, avoiding unpleasant surprises. 

Accordingly, they look to the CFO as the management team’s guiding light with monthly or quarterly performance reporting. Aside from this, consider the following on board meeting agendas and reviews with the CEO:

  1. Minutes from previous meetings.
  2. Unique growth initiatives.
  3. Disinvestment projects.

The items (a) to (c) above may have a domino effect on everyday business. As described, stakeholder interactions ensure things stay on an even keel; if not, one can quickly steady the ship.

What are financial CFO reporting best practices?

The SEC mandates a reporting procedure around GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) for public companies. We suggest small and medium-sized private entities (SMBs) take a page from this book, adhering to these protocols as far as possible. Why? Financial CFO reporting isn’t rocket science; a CFO shouldn’t make it look like it is. So, in a nutshell, it involves curating the process of placing budgeted figures next to actuals, highlighting significant variations (for and against performance expectations), and identifying potential threats, existing crises (if any), and opportunities. 

Remember, the CFO’s core function is strategizing, which means painting a forward vision based on historically accurate financial statements. Moreover, they should know how to structure streamlined reports on easy-to-read templates, summarizing the business-critical data on one page despite the reams of paper behind it. Finally, accounting terminology can confuse some board members, so readability, voice, and presentation techniques are crucial considerations. You don’t want to lose the message because the messenger talks above the audience. 

Six helpful board presentation tips for CFOs

  1. Take boardroom fatigue into account. CEOs want CFO presentations to stimulate discussion by getting fast consensus (or disagreement) and encouraging board member ideas to lessen risk or improve proposals. A poorly structured presentation cuts into that time disturb concentration and blots out the fundamental goals of having a board meeting in the first place.
  2. From a board member’s perspective, a balance sheet reflects assets and liabilities at a point in time – not particularly useful. They want to see changes between dates to assess if the company follows a healthy trend – the longer, the better. 
  3. We recommend that CFOs deploy infographics – charts and graphs – to deliver the crux of the matter in a fraction of the time versus jumping backward and forward between Excel sheets. Nothing does the trick better than histograms and other visuals to graph financial journeys. 
  4. Every presentation should include dollar items and aligned percentages to signify movement. Also, a CFO’s responsibility converges on establishing critical KPIs (key performance indicators) to gauge performance quickly. Springboard off these to get board members on the same page.
  5. When CFOs attempt to drown the board audience in irrelevant information, a red flag arises, so focus on priorities. Of course, when one arrives at the summary page, it should signal whether the presentation is on point or not.
  6. In our prolific digital environment, there’s nothing more off-putting than a generic presentation. Everything covered above can run smoothly with automated accounting SaaS options in your corner, enhancing output with AI and machine learning technologies. They can absorb colossal data volumes in seconds and generate striking chart-centric and graphic presentations that never fail to impress the audience, creating an image of customization and professionalism. From this viewpoint alone, it builds board confidence in the management team. 

So there you have it. Our article highlights six “second-nature” common-sense pointers that, unfortunately, CFOs frequently neglect. Stay with the plot, and your CFO status will solidify and grow. To make CFO reporting even easier for your CFO, you should check out Xledgers’ automatic CFO reporting tools.