The importance of investor reporting was a key focus at sister publication Private Debt Investor’s CFOs & COOs Forum in New York Tuesday. Reporting demands have been increasing for years, multiple speakers agreed, and one solution mentioned was automation.
“In 2012, our need for technology stemmed from our LP reporting process,” one chief financial officer said. “We had so much data we were trying to report, it became so cumbersome we started to look for solutions.”
The solution in this case was hiring a service provider with the right software and technology tools in place to fit the firm. Having a single data source made it easier for the CFO and was better than the alternative. “We were at a point where our Excel spreadsheet was about to break,” the CFO said. “When it comes to fundraising, [LPs] always ask for a plethora of data. One day I just want to know, do they actually use the information?”
However, the same CFO acknowledged that reporting isn’t just about data for investors. They want to know how firms are managing the capital risks that come with managing a portfolio and fundraising. Using the right technology makes it possible for firms to have real-time conversations with investors, a second CFO said.
“They want to be able to ask for information about XYZ and it’s important for you to be able to pull up a dashboard on an iPad and say, ‘Here’s our portfolio review, we can walk through this right now,’” the second CFO said. “The fact that this is being reviewed this way across the firm resonates with them because it is at everyone’s fingertips.”