Business Financial Software
In today’s fast-moving business world, information needs are defined in terms of days and hours—not weeks or months.
That’s why many finance departments are focusing on a traditional bottleneck: their own financial-close process. That, in turn, is leading them to take a closer look at the business financial software foundation they use. Here are some tips to accelerate your financial close:
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Step 1: Start with “Why”—The financial close is a process like any other, so make sure you establish the needs for change: more timely information, better access to financial resources, and reduced costs. Shorter closes can also reduce audit and compliance costs and free up finance resources to work on other types of analysis to support the business.
Step 2: Find the right “Who”—Create a guiding team and leverage their interest for more timely information. The team helps you buy-in and improved collaboration between finance and other departments. The right cross-section of key stakeholders has the persistence and dedication to kick start your initiative and keep it going until your closings are faster.
Step 3: Define the “What”—Set defined targets for your closing process. Should it be five days or less? Can you do it in even just one day? Engage your team and brainstorm what it takes to achieve a one-day close—you’ll soon have a long list of short-, medium-, and longer-term ideas. Bring the process gaps to the surface and start addressing them.
Step 4: Attack the “How”—Standardize the close using a journal entry log, a timeline, and a completion checklist. These help standardize the process, assign accountability, and formalize the documentation to ensure nothing has been missed. Make it a team effort with defined goals. Communicate regularly. Give everyone a role to play—and make them accountable. Remember, the closing process can start well before period-end. For example, you can analyze potential accounting issues or start account reconciliations in advance of the close. If your business financial software system has the ability to close subledgers prior to closing the general ledger, that can speed up the close. Define a level of reporting materiality that strikes an appropriate tradeoff between timeliness and accuracy. Identify the issues that matter and those that can be deal with using estimates.
Step 5: Put technology to work for you—Invest in an integrated business financial software system. Outdated and disparate systems with manual interfaces and handoffs slow down the closing. The more you can get everyone feeding data into one system, the faster your close. Self-review controls using system-generated analytical comparisons to budget and prior period enable your accounting staff to spend more time investigating variances. Your system should also automatically generate ratios using financial and non-financial data. These correlations enable early detection and remediation of errors. Spending time explaining the financial results is far more valuable than spending time calculating metrics that could be automated.
Want to learn more about Sage Intacct business financial software? Contact us today!