6 Useful CRM Reports for the Accounting Department

The average accounting department typically doesn’t have much to do with the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system beyond getting the names and addresses of customers. There’s simply no need to train accounting staff to be proficient on the CRM system. In most companies, roundabout communications such as emails, instant messages, and phone calls substitute for a real system of delivering CRM information to accounting.
The easiest way to improve the process is to construct a few key reports that accounting can run that use CRM data. In this way, companies take the lag time and headache of making interdepartmental requests out of the process and ensure good information flow. It makes the accounting department feel more involved in the CRM system, and that cannot hurt the sales department the next time its staff want a CRM system upgrade.
Here are six reports based on CRM data that accounting will find useful. Some of these reports may cross into enterprise resource planning (ERP) data, but often, all the data are available through the CRM system because salespeople need all the data in one place.
Active Customer List
It might seem simplistic, but just knowing whether or not a customer is active is important. As customers stop ordering or their relationship with the company sours of relationship, it can greatly affect how accounting treats them.
Such customer ordering information is typically kept up to date in the CRM system, but it might take months for accounting to notice the changes. Often, salespeople are too sheepish to tell others when a customer may be turning away, but they’ll enter the change in the CRM system.
Commission Reports
Accounting needs to know what to pay people, and it needs to track compensation over time. Sometimes, commissions are calculated in the CRM system. Other times, commission calculations are too complex or volatile and so are done in spreadsheets, and then put back into the CRM system for recordkeeping. This is key to knowing how profitable a customer is to sales management. Accounting might be able to figure it out over time, but it’s much easier to get it straight from the CRM system.
Credit Status Report
The accounting department is typically the judge of a customer’s credit worthiness. The CRM system is where salespeople and sales management look up a customer’s credit worthiness. Accounting needs to be able to verify a customer’s credit status as recorded in the CRM system. A quick report allows for review and verification, especially when the accounting department decreases a customer’s credit limit.
Return or Balance Status
Usually, it takes time for a credit or refund to be processed through the various ERP and financial systems, and the CRM system tends to be the first line of data entry for a return. Accounting can monitor this kind of sales activity through a report that lists recent or open returns in the CRM system.
Assigned, Previous, or Associated Sales Staff
Sales staff tend to change often. Accounting needs to be able to associate commissions and total sales with the right salesperson. When teams are involved, as well, accounting may need to split amounts among people, groups, or even geographies.
The CRM system may have the base data but not divide the data into the categories required for good internal financial reporting. The accounting department needs the basic data to prepare its reports for executives.
Discount or Price Schedule
Many companies create special price breaks or price sheets for individual customers or groups of customers. The CRM system handles those situations well, as does the ERP system. Financial systems don’t often handle this kind of pricing nuance, and if they do, they may require manual data entry. A CRM report provides all such information to accounting, which can then automatically include it in accounting reports.
About the Author
David Gillman has worked in software and technology-related services for more than 20 years. He has been a user and administrator of CRM systems as well as a pioneer in analytical CRM. David currently works on hands-on analytical CRM projects in several industries, publishes on the subject, and is a speaker at industry conferences. David is an analyst with
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