The Lean CFO, Management Reporting and Filemaker

We’ve come a long way from the days where the abacus was common place.  The abacus was simple technology that allowed merchants and mathematicians to make complex calculations.

Calculation Technology has advanced so far Captain Spock from Star Trek may even be impressed. Only 20 years ago when I started my career, management reports in some multi nationals were printed by dot matrix machines on blue and white lined paper with perforated sides.   Today the Relational Databases with in-built user interface design tools, web publishing engine that is mobile device enabled is available in one software package. The implications for the modern day abacus are profound. Today’s calculation tools can have;

  • Multiple users performing multiple calculations in the one calculation tool at any time.
  • Everybody or if you choose a defined cohort of users, can all interact and view live to the minute information.
  • The users can be located in multiple locations anywhere on the planet (so long as they are connected to the internet)
  • They can be using an Android device, iPhone, iPad, Mac or windows PC.
  • This modern day calculation and data collation tools is available on one platform.
  • Web publishing engine allows businesses to create their own Cloud

Filemaker software is  a business tool that allows all that magic to occur. The software is designed to allow teams within businesses to customise systems to reflect their specific process needs.

So what are the management reporting implications of Filemaker technology for the Lean CFO or Business owner?

What are the implications for Management Reporting and Management Accounting in Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)?

The Game has changed. Once upon-a-time the systems available to Financial Controller’s, CFO’s and Chief Accountants was constrained by the chart of accounts.  How and when operational information transfer into the Chart of Accounts marked the beginning of financial analysis and reporting.  Management Control Systems are constructed along the lines of, business units, divisions and cost centre coupled with tight budget monitoring and expenditure controls. Ultimately, general ledger account codes has been a corner stone in CFOs management reporting tool kit.

However the Lean CFO knows that managing capacity , waste, flexible resource allocation and continuous improvement is fundamental to building competitive advantage.

The tools are now available to shed the restricting shackles of the Chart of accounts. Instead of mapping management processes to an artificial accounting construct, the Lean CFO can now leverage systems to map business workflows with key data points that translate operational KPIs to financial reports.  Financial implications of live operational information can be calculated to the minute. The Lean CFO can now reach into the workflow of specialist teams and department. Transparency of business performance is amplified and the CFO’s influence is multiplied.

The management reporting team of the future will be workflow specialist who have deep understanding of business capacity and resource allocation. Tools such as Filemaker enable the agile work environment. Small to Medium enterprises have the opportunity to create competitive advantages through advanced management reporting tools. Customised databases and reporting infrastructure can become a key source of competitive advantage.

Technology has never been so disruptive. Today the Lean CFO is in the box seat to transform the performance of organisations.

Chris Catto


If you would like to explore the opportunities that disruptive technology such as Filemaker provides the Lean CFO of the future.

Contact Putney Breeze at

  • Rapid Deployment Budgeting and Forecasting,
  • One System Operational KPI Management Reporting
  • Business Case Submission and Approval Management
  • Integrate Staff Appraisal Systems with Live Operational KPIs


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