Automate and streamline your financial close processes including accounts reconciliation, journal entries, transaction matching and inter-company reconciliations. Strengthen visibility on your closing cycle while significantly increasing governance and compliance.
Solutions for Financial Automation
The financial close process is typically the top target for financial improvement in many organizations. The financial close process in many organizations is very labor intensive and error prone. While it gets done, it is not always easy and perfect. With solutions for financial automation, leading enterprises are completely automating the various steps in the close to disclose process including scheduling, managing close activities, financial reconciliation, processing inter-company activity, positing of journal entries and preparing and publishing of financial statements.
As a result of automating these labor intensive processes, best in class finance teams are now able to focus on value added activities including strategic decision making, risk management, profitability, cash flow and forecasting.
Challenges and Opportunities
Organizations often invest a lot in transactional applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), yet rely a lot on spreadsheets and manual reconciliations during the close process. The financial close process is cumbersome and filled with opportunities for improvement. Typical concerns include having visibility, managing risk and controlling the cost of compliance. Financial processes are time sensitive and risk averse. As the pressure intensifies to close then books each month, these tasks become excruciatingly burdensome and anxiety driven especially given that senior executives are raring to access the financial data to possibly make adjustments to strategy and tactics. When uncertainty about journal entries arises, accountants must dig through mountains of spreadsheets to check accuracy. Without an automated system, there is simply no visibility into the underlying data unless huge volumes of spreadsheets are analyzed. The complex workflows make sorting a single version of the truth, an exercise in frustration and futility. In summary, significant amount of time is taken away from valuable resources doing rudimentary activities, when they should be actually spending time on value added activities such as revenue, cash flow forecasting and determining where profits are in business.
Solutions Addressing Business Needs
Blackline’s financial close management software has six products designed to increase efficiency, control and visibility into your financial close process:
Helps automate the manual financial close process and replaces with a centralized online system. Typically, the traditional process entails manual interventions involving a lot of spreadsheets – preparers manually retrieve information from the general ledger, carry forward information from prior period, manually compare data from bank statement and invoices, the accounts reconciliation will then be printed, signed by preparer. The reviewer will then manually review for approval and then once approved it is placed in a binder and stored. Blackline’s Accounts Reconciliation solution provides standardized templates, automatically retrieves balances from the General Ledger and carries forward open item from prior period. Users can upload supporting documents and reconciling items, comments, view company policies and procedures and electronically review and sign off on reconciliations. In most cases, low risk accounts are automatically created, prepopulated and reconciled with Blackline’s rules based certification tool. Management can monitor the close process through real time dashboards and reports. With a designated read only rights, auditors can access relevant data anywhere and anytime.
This provides a centralized checklist repository for accounting, finance and audit teams globally. The tool can manage checklist associated with the close calendar, manual journals, compliance controls and PBC lists etc. As a part of the task management process, documents can be attached and preserved, email alerts notifying individuals for pending and overdue work and dashboard provides instant visibility for year-end close.
This solution automates the matching process for detailed heavy reconciliations, ticking and tying millions of transactions per minute. With a manual process, individuals need to manually compare spreadsheets and attempt to match single transactions or groups of transactions by hand. The sheer volume of data defies the manual matching process. This product saves time, handles highly complex matching scenarios and highlights incomplete or missing data to ensure that time sensitive data are routed to the correct individuals.
This provides a centralized repository for creating, reviewing, approving and documenting all manual journal entries. The traditional approach is to manually enter journals into spreadsheets or directly to the general ledger. This process may involve email requests to a small number of people who control access to posting journals. Spreadsheet entries typically do not have a sophisticated validation for things like appropriate account code combinations and the journal entry may be posted and rejected multiple times before it is successfully completed. Supporting documents are often kept in shared drives or binders and approvals are usually paper driven and cumbersome. Blackline’s Journal Entry product is designed to route all Journal Entries through a configurable workflow and approval process, automatically validates and ties all supporting documentation before being posted to the General Ledger or Sub Ledgers.
This is a configurable rules driven product, which allows companies to centralize and monitor fluctuations in account balances, based on specific, pre-defined conditions. The analysis is then performed by a user and automatically routed to management where it can be used to review and for internal reporting, providing visibility into the overall financial trends of the company.
Automates and replaces the manual tie up process between the general ledgers and the consolidation system. Companies typically use consolidation system when they have multiple, disparate general ledgers. Balances from the different General Ledgers are uploaded into the consolidation system in order to produce balance sheets and income statements. Often late journal entries are uploaded to the General Ledger, causing General Ledger balances to be out of sync with the synchronized consolidation system balances. Likewise, top side adjustments made to the consolidation system balances are not always reflected in the general ledger. As a result, most companies will have a spreadsheet driven process to make sure that all systems are in sync. With Consolidated Integrity Manager, this process is automated so that the differences are identified and easily handled.
FROM THE KNOWLEDGEBASE
Good Practices In Financial Close
Avaali is a partner for Blackline across various geographies. As a result of our strong understanding of not only the various steps in the financial closing process, but also importantly, the way Blackline can be configured to suit your requirements, we are able to help you to deliver better business value from this investment.