Three Effective Approaches to Family Office Management

The decision window for executives in family office management has steadily shrunk in recent years. The rapid advancements in information dissemination, with real-time and on-demand access, challenge finance functions to keep pace with the multitude of modern sources of insight and analysis that internal and external stakeholders receive.

A study conducted by Aberdeen reveals that 64% of business managers have experienced a decrease in their decision-making time over the past year. Another study by Aberdeen found that 28% of business managers require data within an hour of a business event, while 42% need information within a day. This limited timeframe leaves little room for finance to provide supporting analysis in the decision-making process.  Download the full report here.

Historically, decision-making processes have relied on fact-based, data-driven management information. Executives would depend on monthly financial and offline operational reports outside the finance function to monitor the business’s health. However, financial reports and real-time operational data often serve as lagging performance indicators. While these metrics may have sufficed in the past, they are less effective today due to the lag in information dissemination and increasing business volatility.

To respond to these challenges, instantaneous, deep financial insight is now more crucial than ever. An analytical approach that enables family office management to monitor and measure the development of strategic drivers and make confident decisions is necessary.

When it comes to decision-making, executives rarely have the luxury of time. This blog will explore their challenges in driving performance and present innovative solutions that can lead to better outcomes. 

The Challenge

In many industries, businesses face additional challenges due to frequent and dramatic changes in the business environment. Commodity prices, for example, have exhibited increased volatility in recent years. Companies affected by price fluctuations, such as natural gas prices, must consider the implications for their business models. Consumer preferences and demands can shift rapidly while new technologies and business models constantly replace older ones. 

Shortening Reporting Cycles and Challenges of Keeping Up

One of the challenges faced in family office management is the need to accelerate the distribution of information without compromising credibility. Traditional financial reporting focuses on results over varying time period, with annual and quarterly financial statements being the standard. 

Monthly financial statements have historically served as a primary gauge of organizational performance. However, the pace of business no longer aligns with monthly, quarterly, or annual reporting cycles. Finance must find ways to adapt and provide information more quickly.

Ad Hoc Reporting is Failing to Fill the Gap

Ad hoc reporting, which aims to fill the gap in real-time reporting, often involves analysis requests, information gathering and extraction, data compilation, and ad hoc report creation. However, this approach presents several issues that undermine its effectiveness. 

  • It needs to be more timely, as the process involves multiple hand-offs between users, finance, and IT, resulting in delayed analysis. 
  • It needs to be more consistent, as the same questions are often repeated, requiring repeated ad hoc analyses. 
  • It also needs more control, as data plucked from various systems and consolidated in spreadsheets can break the connection to underlying data, leading to potential errors and credibility issues.

3 New Approaches

1. Faster Close and Real-Time Reporting

Redefining reporting cycles by aiming for a faster close enables family office management to identify errors earlier and access reliable transactional data for more timely intra-period reporting. Cloud-based solutions like Sage Intacct eliminate time-consuming hand-offs and facilitate real-time reporting by pulling data from different sources.

2. Aggregate Data from Disparate Sources

Leading financial systems address the shortcomings of traditional ad hoc reporting by integrating operational data from various sources in real time. This eliminates manual data gathering and ensures a continuous connection to underlying data sources. Analysis tools within these systems allow for the development of real-time reports that meet specific user needs without breaking the connection to underlying data.

3. Implement Dashboard Reporting

Executive dashboards are the equivalent of cockpit control panels, providing users with a snapshot of the organization’s financial pulse through a mix of financial and non-financial key performance indicators (KPIs). Modern dashboards are interactive, allowing family office management to drill down into metrics, sort and analyze data, and gain deeper insights into cause-and-effect relationships. Effective dashboards drive management action and decision-making by highlighting areas that require attention.

Adopting these new approaches allows for the following:

  • Finance functions can overcome the challenges of the shrinking decision window
  • Real-time reporting and analysis enable organizations to monitor strategic drivers, respond to changing business environments, and improve overall performance
  • Finance staff can shift their focus from manual data manipulation to value-added activities such as error identification, data analysis, and establishing meaningful KPIs

These new approaches also affect the changing role of finance staff in family office management. With enabling technologies, finance resources spend less time on data manipulation and validation, allowing them to contribute more to data review, analysis, and KPI measurement. This shift enhances the value finance professionals bring to the organization by leveraging their experience and business expertise.


Private equity firms must adapt to the changing landscape of gaining deep financial insight. Adopting a real-time mindset, striving for a faster close, leveraging technology like Sage Intacct to aggregate data, and implementing dashboard reporting is crucial. 

By optimizing the deployment of human resources and embracing technology, finance departments can empower effective business management. If you’re ready to explore a more efficient approach to managing your family office, we invite you to schedule a free discovery call. Discover how Sage Intacct can help you unlock new possibilities for your organization.