The challenges of status-quo financial reporting
Making 100% of decisions on 20% of the data is not working anymore; it never actually worked. The traditional reporting process was manual; manual entry of transactions into the ledger, manually exporting the ledger to a spreadsheet, manually segmenting the data, and, finally, manually preparing a report. This manual process prohibited efficiencies and, more importantly, financial transparency. If you wanted to do something nefarious, this multi-layered, manual process could hide it. What this process also hid was any value to leadership.
This challenge, faced by many municipalities, contributes to the erosion of public trust in civil institutions. The finance team of a top 25 city in the United States struggled to analyze the vast amount of financial data. Historically, the city employed large teams of analysts that would extract general ledger data, organize it, and then provide manually summarized reports to stakeholders.
Gathering and preparing the financial data was quite cumbersome for the team. This process often involved frequent follow ups with stakeholders who had to manually compile and send information. Even with specialized people and tools, they couldn’t keep up with the analysis necessary for accurate budgeting, reporting, and audits. The resources needed to scale weren’t available either. Eventually, the city’s existing controls couldn’t sufficiently ensure financial accuracy.
Taking a technological leap forward with MindBridge
The board of trustees wanted unbiased checks and balances done on the city’s financial reporting. They were tired of dealing with the longstanding issues and financial mismanagement. To deter fiscal malfeasance and restore public trust, the trustees wanted to leverage technology that could enhance risk analysis and financial accuracy.
The city’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) took the lead on the project. After considering various auditing solutions, the CFO chose the MindBridge AI auditing platform.
With the MindBridge platform, the finance team could easily upload monthly general ledger, quickly identify problematic entries and risky transactions, and accurately summarize the findings for stakeholders. Other key decision factors for choosing MindBridge included:
- The platform is easy to use and offers an intuitive experience for all team members.
- There is no scripting or coding required to get the platform up and running.
- The platform analyzes 100% of the general ledger entries, leverages AI to identify known and unknown risks.
- The solution provides clear and automated reporting on all potential risks or errors and compares financial transactions over time.
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Delivering higher levels of transparency and trust
Since implementing MindBridge, the city has increased confidence in its financial accuracy and can now focus on providing services to budget-constrained constituents. The team is also in a better position to ensure the proper accounting of tax-payer dollars. Should any scrutiny come up, they can quickly provide reports with greater confidence.
Since MindBridge also helps the team automate many financial analysis and reporting tasks, they have more time to focus on other important jobs and remediate areas of concern before external audits.
The biggest takeaway for the city has been fostering greater trust in budgeting and day-to-day operations. Using MindBridge, the city is able to deliver an unbiased monthly review of its financials, immediately address any risk or errors in the general ledgers, and maximize its team’s skills to keep city life safe, vibrant, and prosperous for all.